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Arctic Geograpliy and Rthnology. 









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The President and Council of the Eoyal Geographical Society 

suggested that a selection of papers on various branches of 

science relating to the Arctic Eegions, which are rendered 

-^ inaccessible through being bound up in ' Transactions ' and 

^ ' Proceedings ' with other irrelevant matter, should be reprinted 

for the use of the Arctic Expedition. This suggestion, so far 

as regards subjects other than geography and ethnology, was 

adopted by the Admiralty on the recommendation of the 

^Council of the Koyal Society, and a collection of papers and 

■^ extracts from books on zoology, geology and physics, will 

be reprinted at the public expense for the use of the 


The present volume contains a series of papers on Arctic 

geographical and ethnological subjects, which it was thought 

j might be useful to the officers of the expedition ; and which 

7> has been pi;epared by a Committee appointed by the Council, 

\J and at the expense of the Royal Geographical Society. 

V^ It is a contribution presented to the Arctic Expedition by 

::! the Society, in the hope that some use and instruction may 

be derived from it, and with the warmest and most heartfelt 

wishes for the success and safe return of the explorers, on the 

part of the Council and Fellows. 

The Volume is divided into two sections — on Geography and 

The first series of papers in the Geographical Section is by 
Dr. Robert Brown, f.r.g.s., who has twice visited Greenland, 
and who is one of the highest living authorities on all scientific 
subjects connected with that region. Dr. Brown, after briefly 


describing the Greenland coast-line, gives an account of all the 
different attempts that have been made to penetrate into the 
interior. He then treats of the Greenland glacier system, of 
the action of sea-ice, of the rise and fall of the coast, and of the 
formation of fjords, and concludes with some speculations on 
the northern termination of Greenland, and on debateable points 
regarding the physical structure of the vast icy continent. 

Dr. Brown's series is followed by three papers reprinted from 
the 'Journal' of the Eoyal Geographical Society. The first, by 
Baron von Wrangell, is interesting, as being the first proposal 
to attempt to reach the Pole by the route of Smith Sound. 
The second is a valuable criticism on the narrative of Dr. Kane's 
discoveries, by Dr. Eink, the eminent Danish Naturalist, and 
Director of the Greenland Board of Trade ; and the third is a 
paper on the Arctic Current around Greenland, by the Danish 
Admiral Irminger. 

The concluding series of Papers, in the Geographical Section, 
is by Admiral Collinson. The full results of that distinguished 
officer's remarkable Arctic voyage have never been given to tlie 
public ; and both the Fellows of the Society and the officers of 
the Arctic Expedition are to be congratulated in having, on 
this occasion, elicited so valuable an instalment. Admiral 
Collinson gives his notes on the state of the ice, and on 
indications of open water, from the mouth of the Siberian river 
Kolyma, along the shores of Arctic America, to Ballot Strait. 
He also furnishes a narrative of all the expeditions that have 
explored the shores of Arctic America from Point Barrow to 
the Mackenzie Eiver, and from the Mackenzie to the Back 
Eiver, including his own voyage, and concludes with some 
general observations on the ice. 

The Ethnological Section commences with two papers on the 
origin and migrations of the Greenland Eskimo, and on the 
Arctic Highlanders. Then follows a sketch of tlie Eskimo 
grammar, and a series of classified vocabularies taken from the 
lists of Egede, Kleinschmidt, Janssen, and Admiral Washington. 


The compilation of the list of names of places in Greenland 
has been a difficult task, and it is feared that it falls short of 
what might have been prepared if more time conld have been 
bestowed upon it. The intention has been to give the name of 
every place on the coast of Greenland from the Dannebrog 
Islands, in latitude 65° 15' N. on the eastern side, round Cape 
Farewell, to the entrance of Smith Sound ; with columns 
for the Eskimo names, their meanings, identifications of 
ancient Norman sites, Danish names, names and latitudes on 
the Admiralty Chart, and remarks. The Eskimo meanings 
have been kindly supplied by Dr. Eink, and the Norman iden- 
tifications are mainly due to the learning of Mr. Major. Much 
laborious assistance, in the preparation of this list, has also been 
given by Commander A. H. Markham, k.n., f.r.g.s., of H.M.S. 

A short but interesting paper follows, by Dr. Kink, on the 
descent of the Eskimo ; and the elaborate memoir by the late 
Dr. Simpson, r.n., of H.M.S. Plover, on the Western Eskimo, 
completes this Section. The volume concludes with a report, 
and a series of questions, which were prepared in 1872, by 
a Committee of the Council of the Anthropological Institute. 


Secretary R.G.S. 



Preface v 


I. On fHE Physical Structure of Greenland. By 

Dr. Robert Brown, f.r.g.s., &g 1 

1. The Gkeenland Coast-line 1 

The East Coast 2 

The West Coast 3 

2. The Interiok of Greenland 4 

Ocean and Landorifs Attempt in 1728 .. .. 6 

Dalager's Journey in 1751 7 

Kielsen's Journey in 1830 9 

Hayes' Journey in 1860 10 

Eae's attempted Journey in 18G0 12 

Mr. Whymper's Expedition in 1867 12 

Visits of Rink and others to the Inland Ice . . 13 

Nordenskjold's and Berggrcn's Journey in 1870 14 

AVhat is the Interior of Greenland ? 22 

Are there any moiantains ii\ tlie Interior? .. 23 

What is Greenland ? 25 

Can Greenland be crossed ? 26 

3. Greenland Glaciers and Sea-ice 27 

4. Glacier System of Greenland 29 

The Interior Ice-field 30 

The Defluents of this Inland Ice-field .. .. 33 

The Iceberg 36 

The Sub-glacial Stream 38 

The Moraines 45 

Life near the Ice-Fjords 47 




5. Action of Sea-Ice 48 

6. EiSE AND Fall of the Greenland Coast .. .. 50 

Rise 60 

Fall 52 

7. Application of the facts regarding Arctic Ice- 

action AS explanatory of Glaciation and 
OTHER Ice Eemains in Britain 54 

8. On the Formation of Fjords 58 

Glaciers and Fjords 61 

Grinding-power of Glaciers 62 

Filling-np of Fjords 64 

The Walls of Fjords ^ .. .. 66 

Volcanic Theory of the Formation ofFjords . . 67 

Eamsay, Dana, Geikie, and Murphy, on Fjords . . 68 

9. The Northern Termination of Greenland .. 70 

10. Debateable Points regarding the Physical 

Structure of Greenland 73 

II. On the Best Means of beaching the Pole. By 

Admieal Baeon von Weangell 75 

III. On the Discoveeies of De. Kane, U.S.A. (1853-55). 

By De. Eink 80 

IV. The Aectic Cdeeent aeound Geeenland. By 

Admieal C. Iemingee, of the Danish Navy . . 97 

V. Notes on the State of the Ice, and on the Indi- 
cations of Open Watee feom Beheing Steait 
to Bellot Steait, along the Coasts of Aectic 
Ameeica and Sibeeia, including the Accounts 
OF Anjou and Weangell. By Vice-Admieal E. 


Introduction 105 

1. Behring Straits 106 

Eussian Expeditions east of the Eiver Kolyma 108 

Baron Wrangell's Eemarks 112 

Kotzebue 112 

Lutke .. 113 

Voyage of the i?/ossom 113 

Expeditions in Search of Sir John Franklin . . 114 

The IferaW 114 

The Plover 115 


1. Behring Straits, contimud. 


Enterprise mxA. Investigator 116 

^he DceiJalns audi Amphitrite 119 

Whymper, 1865-66 120 

Whaling Fleet 121 

Dr. Simpson's Eemarks 123 

General Observations 126 

Native Names, Mackenzie Eiver to Cape Hope 129 

Extracts from the Plover's Log, 1852 130 

2. A Short Account of the Exploration op the 

Polar Sea 135 

From Point Barrow to the IMackenzie Eiver . . 135 

Yoyage of Mackenzie, 1789 135 

Frankhn's Second Voyage, 1825-26 135 

Dease and Simpson, 1837 137 

Lieutenant Pullen's Voyage, 1850 138 

Voyage of H.M.S. /»ve.s<i(/«itir 138 

Sir E. M'Clure's Eemarks 140 

Voyage of H.M.S. ii'»ierp?'tse 141 

From the Mackenzie to the Back Eiver . . . . 145 

Journey of Samuel Hearne in 1769-72 . . . . 145 

Franklin's First Journey, 1819-22 145 

Dr. Eichardson and Mr. Kendall 147 

Sir George Back's Voyage 148 

Dease and Simpson, 1S38 150 

Eichardson and Eae, 1848 152 

Eae's Journeys 152 

Voyage of the Enterprise to Cambridge Bay .. 153 

Eae's Journey from Eepulse Bay to Boothia .. 156 

Anderson's Voyage down the Back Eiver .. 156 

Victoria Strait and Franklin Channel .. .. 157 

Sir L. M'Clintock's Eemarks 159 

General Observations on the Ice 160 


I. Papers on the Greenland Eskimos. By Clements 
R. Maekham. 

1. On the Origin and Migrations of the Green- 

land Eskimos 163 

2. On the "Arctic Highlanders" 175 

Names of Arctic Highlanders 188 

3. Language of the Eskimo op Greenland .. .. 189 l 

Vocabularies 194 

4. List of Names of Places in Greenland .. .. 204 



11. On the Descent of the Eskimo. By De. Rink . . 230 
III. The Western Eskimo. By Dr. Simpson, e.n. . . 233 
IV. Report OF the Anthropological Institute. . .. 276 

Questions for Arctic Explorers 281 

1. General. By Dr. Barnard Davis 2bl 

2. Eeligion, Sociology, &c. By Mr. Tylor ..282 

3. Eemaius of Ancient Tribes. By Mr. Boyd 

Dawkins 283 

4. Customs relating to War. By Colonel Lane 

Fox 283 

Arrow-Marks and other Signs 286 

Drawings, Ornamentation, &c 287 

5. Further Ethnological Questions. By Mr. 

Franks 288 

6. Physical Characteristics. By Dr. Beddoe . . 290 

7. Further Ethnological Inquiries. By Dr. 

Turner 291 

8. Suggested Inquiries. By Capt. Bedford Pirn 292 


Map di-awn by Erasmus York, the "Arctic Highlander" .. to face 184 

Map of the part of the Coast of Greenland containing the 

ancient Norman Settlements ,, 209 




In drawing up a summary, as brief as such a wide subject will 
admit of, regarding our knowledge of the physical structure of 
Greenland, apart from its geology, which will be found in the 
contributions to the Manual prepared by the Arctic Committee of 
the Eoyal Society, the materials at my disposal will be best 
utilized by adopting the following division : — (1) A description of 
the coast. (2) A summary of what we know of the interior and 
of the chief attempts which have been made to penetrate it. (3) 
The Greenland ice and Greenland glaciers. (4) The nature of 
the Greenland fjords. (5) A discussion of the question regarding 
the probable termination of Greenland; and, finally, (6) a few 
memoranda may be added in regard to the points discussed in 
the preceding pages, in reference to which our knowledge is still 
imperfect, but which the researches of the present Expedition could 
do much to solve. 

1. The Greenland Coast-line. 

The Admiralty chart, and the numerous elaborate ones in the 
narrative of the German Expedition to East Greenland,^ are so 
detailed, that any minute description of the coast-line is super- 
fluous. I will, therefore, merely confine myself to a brief outline, 
more as connecting the topographical portion of my subject with 
that which is more purely physico-geographical, than with any 
view to supply what a glance at the chart will much more efficiently 
afford the reader. 

' ' Die Zweito Deutsche Nordpolarfahrt' (Leipzig, 1872-75), or its partial trana- 
lation (but without all tlie maps, &c.) by Messrs. Bates and Mercier (Loudou, 



The general form of Greenland, as at present portrayed on our 
maps, is roughly triangular. It is probable that further discoveries 
on the northern shores will show it to be more ellipsoidal than 
triangular in shape. Its interior is unknown, but its shores on the 
western and part of the eastern sides have been more or less com- 
pletely explored. At almost no place is there a straight or unbroken 
line of coast ; deep fjords, at short intervals, running more or less 
parallel with each other, often for great distances into the land, and 
in some cases divided into numerous branches or tributary fjords, 
intersect the coast. These fjords are much more numerous on the 
west than on the east coast— a fact which we shall see is true of every 
other region where these peculiar intersections of a coast-line are 
found (p. 69) ; and this fact may be received as some ground fur the 
belief that the inland ice (p. 30) which covers the whole interior 
of the country slopes more to the western than to the eastern sides. 
1. The East Coast.— The Spitzbergen Ice-stream— a broad river 
of pack-ice, floes, &c.— is carried by the current from the direc- 
tion of Spitzbergen down the eastern shores of Greenland, south at 
least of lat. 64^ and is drawn up Davis Strait by the in-draught 
of the water until it impinges on the coast about the vicinity 
of Holsteensborg. In this current are brought great quantities of 
drift-wood, which has passed out of the mouths of the Siberian rivers, 
and white bears, which afford a lucrative object of chase to the 
South Greenlanders. 

The most northerly point on the coast of Greenland which has 
ever been sighted, is the mythical land which is said to have been 
visited by Lambert in 1670. But this record is so dubious, that we 
may really set down the furthest northern point reached by the 
German Expedition on the 15th of April, 1870, viz., Cape Bismarck, 
or a little beyond, in lat. 77°, as the limit of our knowledge of the 
eastern shores. South of that parallel the coast-line has been 
partially laid down by Scoresby, and by the expedition mentioned, 
until we come to lat. 69° 12', near Knighton Bay, when again the 
chart fails us. Between the points mentioned the coast is broken by 
fjords and bays, with numerous oflf-lying islands. The most exten- 
sive of these fjords is that of the Kaiser Franz Joseph, a beautiful 
inlet (with many tributaries), which stretches into the interior 
for an unknown distance. 

Scarcely less beautiful are Ardencaple Inlet and the Fligely and 

Tyrolese Fjords, though neither is equal in extent. or grandeur to that 

named in honour of the Austrian Emperor. Koldewey's, Clavering's 

and Shannon islands form the greatest extent of detached land. 

Petermann's Peak (14,000 feet), and Payer's Peak (7600 feet), are 


the highest points of laud in that region. In Greenland, it may be 
remarked, there are few high elevations. " Greenland's icy moun- 
tains " are to some extent a hymnal myth ! Scoresb^^'s Sound is an 
unexplored inlet of perhaps an extent even greater than any of those 
named. Davy Sound may also prove to be an extensive northern 
tributary of Scoresby's Sound. 

South of Knighton Bay, until we come to the White Saddle 
Island in lat. 65°, we may be said to know nothing of the coast. 
Here and there a cape has been sighted and a name applied to it ; 
and practically a dotted line might fitly express all the exact know- 
ledge which we possess in regard to it. From lat. 65° to Cape 
Farewell, the southern termination of the country, the coast has 
been laid down from the sketches of the old Norsemen, and from 
the obsei-vations of Graah and others, who went in search of the 
" lost colonies," believed, but erroneously, to have been situated, up 
to the period of the Middle Ages, on the south-eastern portion of 
Greenland.^ The coast-line is broken by fjords, with very few 
islands lying off their mouths. 

2. West Coast. — Cape Farewell (called by the Greenlandei-s 
Kangekyadlek, or the cape rianning to the westward) is on a small 
island (Sermilik). From this point up lat. 73° 40' (Tessiussak or 
Kingatok) the coast has been more or less perfectly surveyed. Of 
the southern harbours and inlets we indeed possess "Some excellent 
charts by the Danish naval surveyors. At all events, no important 
points in its geography are unknown, and it may be said that, for all 
geographical purposes, the west coast of Greenland is perfectly well 
known within the limits of the Danish possessions. Its general 
character is much the same as the i-est of the Greenland continent 
— not overlaid by ice — and will be described, so far as the natuiu. 
of this memoir requires, in a subsequent section (p. 29). Siikker- 
toppen("the sugar-loaf") and Sanderson's Hope (Kasorsoak) are 
about the highest points of the coast. 

North of these limits the unexplored or imperfectly known 
region commences. The bottom of Melville Bay is, for instance, 
entirely unknown. Great glaciers, fjords, and islands— one of 
which is said to constitute that pillar-like land to the entrance of 
the bay known as the Devil's Thumb — will most likely be found 
to be the prevailing character of the coast. The bottom of few, if 
any, of the inlets north of this are known, and the outer coast-lino 
very imperfectly. How much, or how little, we know of Smith 

' The " Osier Bygd " has now been proverl to liave been on the west 



Sound the charts and other documents will have so fully explained 
to the Expedition, that it is manifestly out of the province of the 
present writer to enter upon this subject. The physical charac- 
teristics of the country do not, so far as a mere study of the pub- 
lished sources of information which we possess in regard to it will 
allow us to judge, differ in any remarkable degree from the region 
already spoken of, 

2. The Interior of Greenland.^ 

The interior of any considerable tract of land has always a mys- 
terious interest surrounding it, especially when its coasts have long 
been a familiar object on our maps. Indeed, now-a-days, when the 
broad features of the world, excepting those of some of the more 
remote Arctic and Antarctic regions, are tolerably well known, 
little remains to the geographical explorer but the investigation 
of the interior of some of the older continental masses of land. 
Even with his ambition so bounded, the traveller need not, like a 
second Alexander, sit down and weep because there are no more 
worlds to conquer. The geography and resources of scarcely any 
great mass of land, from Australia to Greenland, with the exception 
of the long civilised and inhabited European countries, are well 
known, and some even very near to the great centres of population 
and enterprise of the world, such as Iceland and Greenland, are 
little, if at all known, or even attempted to be explored. Yet the 
superficial area of Greenland cannot be less than 750,000 square 
miles — in a word, it is a continent. 

It is now upwards of 1000 years ^ since the banished Iceland 
Vikino-, Eed Erik (Thorwards' son), discovered the land to which 
he applied the somewhat couleur- de-rose name of " Gronland." For 
upwards of 700 years it was settled on its southern shores, or visited 
for hunting, fishing, or trading purposes, by his countrymen from 
Iceland and Norway. Thirteen bishops were ordained to preside 
over this frozen diocese, and churches and villages yet remain, in 
the shape of massive rude ruins, to attest how strong a hold it had 
taken on the colonising spirit of Scandinavia. For nearly 300 years 
exploring vessels of almost every European maritime nation have 
passed along its ice-bound shores, either for the purpose of exploring 
its northern termination or of tracing the trend of its unknown 

> Condensed and re-cast, with corrections, from ' Das Inuere von Gronland ' 
(Petermann's ' Geog. Mittheilungen,' 1871). 

" This date is not certain; some authors give it as a.d. 983. See also Konrad 
Maurer's ' Island, von seiner ersten Entdeckung bis zura Untergange des Frei- 
staats' (1874). 


eastern coast. For upwards of 200 years thousands of English, 
Dutch, Danish, German, Norwegian, American, or French ships 
have visited it, hunted the whale and the seal in its waters, or every 
summer battled with their giant quarr}' in the more distant seas 
which wash its shores ; and finally, it is now nearly a century 
and a half ago since the Danish Government first established 
trading-posts on the western coasts from near Cape Farewell to 
almost 74"^ x. latitude, where reside from year to year educated 
and intelligent Danish officers with the whole resources of the 
trading monopoly at their disposal. Yet, as far as any definite 
knowledge of the interior goes, we know almost as little to-day as 
we did when Erikr Eauthri returned home again to Sneefjeld- 
jokelsfjord, boasting of the new country he had discovered.^ 

True, we know that it is covered with an immense glacier expan- 
sion. But whether this glacier expansion is unbroken from north 
to south or from east to west we can only reason from analogy, and 
are not able to speak with the authority and confidence which actual 
observation gives. Before we hastily vent our indignation in the 
stereotyped phrase of " it being discreditable to the enterprise of 
the age " that this should be, let us glance for a moment at the 
causes of this. Though so near Europe, Greenland is yet in reality 
far off", communication with it being rare and slow, while once 
there, there is little to attract the attention of an explorer, who is 
apt to think his time more profitably and pleasantly spent in more 
fruitful and. hospitable regions. Accordingly, while the mysteries 
of Afi-ica are explored at every risk of life and health, and the 
eucalyjotus-thickets of Australia never lack Englishmen and Ger- 
mans willing to risk a grave among them, and the gorgeous wonders 
of Amazonian vegetation attract men to wander in awe-struck 
admiration amongst it, the icy interior of familiar Greenland lies 
solitary, mysterious, and unknown. The Danish residents in 
Greenland are too occupied with their duties, and, unless under 
special encouragement from the Government, can scarcely be ex- 
pected to undertake what has found no attractions for professional 
geographers and explorers. When I haid that it is Ttnoion that the 
interior is an ice-waste covered with a huge mer da glace, I ought 
to have qualified this statement by saying that this is only a matter 

' " It was a green land, a fair country, greener than Iceland,'' loudly in ale- 
house ami market-i)lac(! proclaimed tliis lusty, boisterous, roystering drinker of 
61 and mead. The fact is, that, in his own small way, this same banished son of 
the banished son of Jadar, the Norwegian jarl, was a '' promoter'' of a joint-stock 
company for colonization, and knew as well as anybody within the city of London 
or elsewhere what was in a name. " For," quotii he, " if the land have a good 
name, it will cause many to come thither." 


of knowledge to those who have devoted attention to the subject, 
for, to the ordinary geographer and naturalist, the fact does not 
seem to be generally known. It will, therefore, be useful to give 
a summary of the different attemjDts — futile though most of them 
have been — to penetrate the interior of the frozen land, and to 
shortly sum up what the present state of our knowledge would lead 
us to deduce regarding the structure and configuration of this inte- 
resting Arctic Continent. 

1. Ocean and Landorff's Attempt in 1728. — As far as I can learn, 
this is the first attempt made to penetrate the interior of Greenland, 
and from the ignorance it displayed of the nature and character of 
the country to be passed over, we may well suppose that it was 
planned in a time of supreme unacquaintance with the existence of 
the inland ice. Major Ocean ^ and Capt. Landorlf were respectively 
the governor and commandant designate of a fort which the Danish 
Government proposed to establish on the east coast of Greenland. 
They took with tliem an armed company, artillery and horses, from 
Denmark. The horses died on the passage out ; and so a grandly 
planned expedition failed, owing to its having been projected in 
utter ignorance of the nature of the country. Finding that it was 
all but impossible, on account of the great ice-stream wliich is ever 
pouring down that coast, to reach the seat of Government, these 
gallant officers proposed what appears to us now almost too ludi- 
crous and madcap a scheme to be seriously related : viz., to ride on 
horseback across the country from the west to the east coast. We 
must, however, remember that a century and a half ago little or 
nothing was known about Greenland except by vague tradition or 
the tales of the Eskimo, repeated by Hans Egede, who had just 
established his trading mission eight years, and was but imperfectly 
acquainted with the language of the Eskimo, and more than sus- 
picious of their veracity. It is also as well to bear in mind that 
some of the South Greenland fjords support a few cattle and sheep, 
and, therefore, in some respects, justify the name which Erikr 
Eauthri applied to the countr}^ when he first discovered it. They 
seem to have attempted it on foot, some will even say on horse- 
back ; but history has preserved us but scanty details of this 
extraordinary attempt, for all that I can find regarding it is a 
doleful lament that the route taken was covered with glaciers and 
chasms. Egede seemed to have been well acquainted with the 
nature of the inland ice, for, in all the attempts either made by him 

' According to my notes of the expedition. Nordenskjold, however, in hie 
' Redogorelse for en Expedition till Gronland, ar 1870,' gives the name as 


or under hi8 directiou, we uevei" found liiui attempting to cross the 
country, but always to work laboriously round Cape Farewell. 
Soon after this tlie expanse of the inland ice over the interior seems 
to have been well known, for Cranz gives us a lucid description uf 
it ; and Otho Fabricius, the celebrated naturalist and philologist, 
who was in the country about the same period, describes, in his 
'Fauna Groenlandica,' published in Copenhagen in 1780, the 
interior in these words (page 4) : " Interioribus ob plagam gla- 
cialem continuam inhabitabilibus." 

2. Dalagers Journey in 1751. — The Danish settlement of Fredriks- 
haab, situated in lat. 60° n., and long. 50^ w. of Greenwich, was 
founded in 1742 by a Danish merchant, Jakob Severin^ — the trade 
of Greenland not being then, as it is now, a strict monopoly of the 
Government. The first traders were Gelmeyden and Lars Dalager, 
men of much energy and rather celebrated in the simple annals of 
Greenland. Lars appears to have been the author of a work on 
Greenland,^ which I have not seen, though there are quotations 
from it, and from his private letters, both in the works of Cranz and 
Saabye on Greenland, From the former of these we derive our 
information regarding this enterprising attempt to penetrate to the 
interior of the country. As it was one of the first, it probably yet 
stands alone as one of the most interesting and energetic of all the 
attempts which succeeded it. He informs us that on the 28th' of 
August, 1751, he sent the great boat to search for firewood, north 
of the " Iceblink," * and a day's journey north of Fredrikshaab, 
while he followed in his hunting-boat. A Greenlander had, in the 
preceding month, pursued his game so high in the country that he 
could see, as he said, the mountains of the ancient " Kablunaks," or 
Europeans, who had in the middle ages settled in South Greenland. 
Induced by this intelligence, he determined to seize the present 
opportunity of attempting a j)assage to the east side. On the 2nd 
of September, accompanied by the Greenlander, the Greenlander's 
daughter, and three other natives, he set out on his tour from a 
bay on the south of the " Iceblink." They tied their bag of 
provisions and. their furs to sleep in together, and gave them to the 
girl to carry. The rest of the party took each a little skin kajak or 
Greenland boat on his head, and a musket on his shoulder, and in 

' Severin was the founder of aevuial other selth'menta. His name is perpe- 
tuated in " Jakobsbavii," a acttlemtnt on the aouthern whores of Disco Bay. 

^ ' Gronlandske relationer, indeholdende Gronlandcrnes liv og levnet, deres 
ekikke og vedtiigter, saint temperament og superstilioner ; tiliigo nogle korte 
reflexioner over missionen, siimmenskrivet ved Fredriksliaab's Colonic i Gron- 
land af Lars Dalager, Kjobniand.' 

* " Old style," 1 presume. * A projecting glacier in lat. C2^ 30' N. 


this manner took up their march. The first half-mile was along 
a brook-side, and was level and easy walking ; but they had now a 
high and rugged rock to cross, and frequently fell down with 
their boats on their heads. By sunset they had reached a large bay 
on the other side, fourteen leagues in length, a hard day's pull for 
an expert rower. In former times the Greenlanders could row into 
this directly from the sea, but, owing to many of the fjords having 
become filled up by glacier-mud and ice, this cannot be done now. 
The next day they launched their kajaks, and rowed for 4 miles 
straight acioss the bay to the north side. They then left their boats 
covered with stones and pursued their journey on foot to the north- 
east. Crossing a ridge of rocks, they came in the evening to firm 
ice. Early on the morning of the 4th, they set out over it to the 
nearest mountains of the Iceblink, at about 4 miles distant. " The 
road was as level as the streets of Copenhagen." An hour after 
sunset, they arrived at the top. The next day they occupied in 
hunting reindeer, one of which they killed, and the raw flesh of 
which fell to the Greenlanders ; for, as there was neither grass nor 
brush to kindle a fire, Dalager was obliged to be satisfied with a 
piece of bread and cheese. On the 5th they travelled about 4 miles 
to the highest rock on the borders of the Iceblink, but were seven 
hours on the road, as the ice was uneven and full of crevasses, which 
obliged them to make frequent detours. About 11 o'clock they 
came to the rock, and, after taking an hour's rest, began to ascend. 
Towards 4 o'clock they gained the summit, spent with fatigue. 
Hitherto they had only been travelling over the ground bordering 
the great interior mer de glace, or over some defluent glaciers ; but 
now an extensive prospect burst upon their view on all sides, 
striking them with wonder, particularly when the vast fields of ice 
were seen stretching across the country in the east coast, bounded 
in the distance by mountains whose tops were covered with snow 
like those on which they stood. At first these mountains seemed 
only 6 or 7 leagues distant, but when they looked towards Godthaab 
(lat. 64° 10' 36" N., long. 51° 45' 5" w.) and saw the mountains in 
its vicinity appear equally large though at least 100 miles off, they 
were obliged to enlarge their estimate. The adventurers remained 
till evening on the mountain-side, then descending a short way they 
lay down to rest ; but Dalager tells us that the activity of his 
thoughts, aided by the cold, drove away sleep. On the morning of 
the 6th they shot another reindeer close to their resting-place. All 
scruples had now vanished, and, craving for something warm, 
Dalager took a draught of its warm blood, which refreshed him 
much, and joined the Greenlanders in a raw haunch of venison. 


He would fain liave gone further, but, on taking the state of the 
party into consideration, he resolved that it would bo prudent to 
return. Though each had taken two pairs of Eskimo boots with 
him, they were now nearly bHrefooted ; and the girl, having lost 
her tools, was unable to mend the dilapidated footgear. 

The mountains they saw were doubtless those of the east coast. 
The nearest Vaj n.e. or E.N.E., and are smaller than those on the 
west, if this may be decided from the smaller quantity of snow on 
their summits. Dalager thought that, so far as a journey to the 
east coast across the inland ice was concerned, there was nothing to 
preclude its possibility in the nature of the ground. The fields of 
ice were not so dangerous or so full of chasms, or these so deep as 
was supposed in his day, and is still generally believed in Greenland. 
Some are hollowed out like a valley, and others so narrow that they 
could easily be leaped over with the aid of their guns, or, not being 
long, can be avoided by a short circuit. On the other hand, he 
points out that there are diflSculties almost insuperable in the way. 
No one could carry provisions sufficient for such a journey, even if 
they could supply themselves on the other side for the return 
journey, and the cold is intensely severe. On the 7th they got back 
to the fjord where they had left their kajaks. Then crossed next 
morning, and arrived at their tents before nightfall.^ 

3. Kielsens Journey in 1830. — 0. B. Kielsen was a whale-fishing 
assistant at HolstenborgMn the Inspectorate of South Greenland, 
situated at the mouth of a large fjord. On the 1st of March, 1830, 
Kielsen penetrated in from this fjord with three sledges, and only 
provided with dogs' food for the first two days, as one is always 
moderately certain to fall in with reindeer in that section. The 
3rd of March brought him to the last inhabited Greenland fishing- 
station at the bottom of the fjord, and from this he ran as straight 
as he could into the interior over the land. After having passed 
the night in a cleft in the rocks, he ran the whole of the next day. 
The land was for the most part rather level and unvaried, and his 
course lay over small lakes and streams. The ground also became 
more deeply covered with snow, which made travel more difficult, 
and led to a corresponding scarcity of reindeer and fuel. The 5th 
of March was devoted to reindeer-hunting for selves and dogs, and 

' David Cranz's ' History of Greenland, &c.' (English translation, 1820), vol. i. 
p. 18; and liana E^'edo .'^aabye's ' Bruchstiit-ke ciiieB TagebuclieH, gchaltcn ifl 
(;ronland in 1770 his 1778 aus dem Diinischen iibersetzt von Ci. Fries' (Ham- 
burg, 1817). 

^ According to Inglcfield, in lat. 66'' 56' 46" N., long. 53'' 42' w. Bondo, how- 
ever, gives it as 66^-" 56' n., and 53'' 42' w. ; while Ulrich, of the Uanisii navy, 
makes it 66" 56' 16" N., 53" 40' 37" w. 

10 HAYES' J0UUN?:Y IN 1860. 

two were killed. At the same time from a high point he could see 
the inland ice. The 6th of March saw them up betimes in the 
morning, and by midday they came to a considerable extended plain. 
Here the land sloped inwards, and now they saw at their feet the 
huge extended mass of the great interior ice. They now quickly 
ran over small hills, lakes, and streams, until they came to a 
moderately large lake at the end of the inland ice, which was the 
limit of their journey. After an attempt to climb the ice, Kielsen 
returned, and had a most troublesome journey. When he reached 
the fjord, he found that its frozen surface had broken up, so that he 
had to go overland to the colony, which he reached on the 9th of 
March, after having gone into the interior on this journey 80 
miles in a straight line from Holstenborg.^ 

4. Hayes' Journey in 1860. — The voyage of Dr. I. I. Hayes in the 
American schooner United States, to Smith Sound, in 1860-61, has 
been so frequently referred to in the public journals that its objects 
and ends must be familiar to most of my readers. One of the 
minor excursions which he took, while his vessel lay in winter- 
quarters, was to the interior of the country, and deserves in this 
place a notice, as not only one of the most successful of these 
attempts to penetrate the inland ice, but as also the most northerly 
of them. 

The particular off-shoot of the great interior mer de glace (for he 
was never on the real inland ice, which differs considerably from 
that which he travelled over) on which he broke ground was that 
one named by Dr. Kane " My Brother John's Glacier," in Port 
Foulke, lat. 78^ 17' 41" n., long. 72' 30' 57" w. On the advice of 
his dog-driver, Jensen, he dispensed with dog-sledges ; though he 
afterwards regretted this, as he had reason to believe that on some 
part of the journey they would have been available. Everybody 
was keen to go, as it was one of their first attempts at exploration 
after they got into winter-quarters ; but Hayes selected as com- 
panions Mr. Knorr, John McDonald, Harvey Heywood, Christian 
Petersen (a Dane), and the Greenland Eskimo Peter. They set out 
on the 22nd of October with one sledge and a small canvas tent, 
two buffalo-skins for bedding, a cooking-lamp, provisions for eight 
days, and an extra pair of fur stockings, a tea-cup and an iron spoon 
for each man. Their first camp was at the foot of the glacier, when 
the temperature was 11° Fahr, The second day they got to the top 
of the glacier, with hard work and some trifling accidents, one of 
which threatened to be rather serious, Dr. Hayes having, owing to 

' Rink's ' Gronland Geograph. og Statistibk beski-evet,' Band ii. pp. 97-99. 


the party not being roped together, fallen through a crevasse ; and, 
as none of the party seemed to have the slightest experience of 
glacier travel, the wonder Avas that more mishaps did not occur. 
The ice was at first rough and broken, and almost free from snow. 
As they penetrated further in, the surface of the glacier became 
smoother, the great inequality nearer the edge was probably owing 
to the inequality of the surface over which it spread itself. 
After journeying for about 5 miles, they pitched their tent on 
the ice, and slept soundly, though the temperature was several 
degrees lower than what it was the night before. On the following 
day they travelled 30 miles, and the ascent, which during the last 
march had been an angle of about 6^, diminished to about one- 
third of that angle of observation ; and from a surface of bard ice 
they had come upon a plateau of compacted snow, through which no 
true ice could be got by digging down to the depth of three feet. 
At that depth, however, the snow assumed a more gelid condition, 
and, though not actually ice, they could not penetrate into it further 
without great difficulty. The snow was covered with a crust which 
the foot broke at every step, making the travelling very laborious. 
About 25 miles were made the following day, the track being much 
the same character, and at about the same elevation. The tem- 
perature had now fallen to 30° below zero (of Fahrenheit), and a 
fierce gale meeting them in the face, drove them to the shelter of 
their tent, and, after resting for a few hours, compelled them to 
return, though Dr. Hayes had intended proceeding one day further 
when he first set out. The temperature was now 34^ below zero 
during the night, though at Port Foulkes, during their absence, it 
was 22° higher. All of them were more or less frost-bitten, and 
one of the party seemed likely to give in altogether. The cold was 
so intense that all of them had to quit the shelter of the tent and 
run about on the ice to save themselves from getting benumbed. 
They were now at an altitude of 5000 feet above the sea, 70 miles ' 
from the coast, in the midst of a vast frozen Sahara, immeasurable to 
human eye. Neither hill nor dale was anywhere in view. They 
had completely sunk the strip of land which lies between the mer 
de glace and the sea, and no object met the eye but their feeble tent, 
which bent to the storm. " Fitful clouds swept over the lace of the 
full-orbed moon, which, descending towards the horizon, glimmered 
through the drifting snow that whirled out of the illimitable 

' In the American ' Proc. Philo8oph. Soc.,' Dec, 18G1, and ' Proc. Koyal Geogr. 
Soc.,' vol. ix. p. 18G, Dr. Hayes nientiouu<l the clistanco whioh he penetrated into 
the interior m fifty rnilew. With every resj)oct to him, I think that he has OTer- 
estimated the disUtncea travelled by his party on the glacier. 


distance, and scudded over the icy plains ; to the eye in undulating 
lines of downy softucss — to the flesh in showers of piercing darts." 

The storm now caused them to run for life to an elevation of 
3000 feet lower before they stopped, when the wind was less 
severe, and the temperature 12° higher. Kext day they reached 
Port Foulke without any serious accident, the latter part of their 
journey being wholly by moonlight. Hayes' journey was under- 
taken at much too late a period of the year ; but still, so far as it 
went, it was conducted with all the esprit and reckless courage in 
which his nation has never been wanting, either in battle or in 
geographical exploration, which demands bravery of a calmer and 
more enduring description. "My Brother John's Glacier" pro- 
jects into a valley, about 2 miles from the coast, towards which it 
is gradually approaching. Hayes' measurements show that it is 
moving seaward at a very rapid rate, viz. 94 feet in 8 months. 
This will, however, vary according to the season, the nature of the 
ground traversed, and other mechanical and phj-sical causes. 

6. Baes attempted Journey in 1860. — While Hayes was struggling 
into winter-quarters in Smith Sound, an English surveying 
steamer, under the command of Captain Allen Young, was searching 
the South Greenland fjords, in connection with a projected Atlantic 
telegraph-cable to be laid via Iceland and Greenland. This project 
has long ago passed into the limbo of forgotten schemes, now that 
the Altantic is traversed by two submarine cables, but during this 
stirvey (in the Fox) an attempt was made to penetrate the interior 
of Greenland : attached to the expedition and in charge of the land 
party was Dr. John Eae — already most deservedly famous as an 
Arctic explorer. The expedition reached Fredrikshaab from Ice- 
land on the 2nd of October, and, on the 24th, while the fjord of 
Igalliko was being sounded. Dr. Eae considered that a short journey 
should be made to the interior of the country for the purpose of 
ascertaining the practicability of travelling over it. The use of 
one seaman and a whale-boat was obtained from Captain Young to 
enable the part}^ to return from the head of the fjord to Julianehaab. 
Four Eskimo women — who in South Greenland are commonly 
engaged in such labour — were engaged as rowers. They never 
reached the inland ice ; for, after travelling through a miry 
and boulder-covered valley 16 miles in from the head of the fjord, 
a heavy fall of snow stopped further travel, and they returned, 
after an absence of four days, to their boat — not, however, before 
the fjord was frozen up for several miles — and with much difSculty 
they reached the Fox. 

Mr. Whyrnpers Expedition in 1867. — Towards the end of July 1867, 


the present ^v^iter, in company with Mr. Edward Whymper (who 
most carefully planned the trip and made every arrangement), Mr. 
Anthon P. Tegner, Mr. Jens Fleischer, and Amac, a Greenland 
Eskimo (since deceased), made an attempt to penetrate this icy 
waste with dog-sledges. The season was too late, and our attempt 
was impeded by various circumstances. Accordingly we only were 
enabled to proceed for a short distance, when, by the breaking 
down of our sledges, we were forced to return. Even had this 
been the place for it, any detailed account of this attempt would 
take up too much space. The general results obtained by it I 
have already given. 

7. Visits of Bink and others to the Inland Ice. — The journeys or 
attempts which I have recorded at some length form the chief 
attempts which, as far as I can leai'n, have been made to penetrate 
the interior of Greenland, or w^hich have been recorded. Possibly 
there may have been others, though, from the well-known dislike 
of the Eskimo to travel over the interior ice, and the absence of any 
motive for enterprise in that direction on the part of the Danish 
officers in charge of the government and trade of Greenland, I 
think that it is hardly likely that there have been many other 
attempts, and my friend. Dr. Eink, the most distinguished authority 
on all matters Greenlandic, and for so many years Eoyal Inspector 
of South Greenland, whom I consulted on the subject, agrees with 
me. However, in addition to those I have recorded at length, there 
are one or two of which I have no notes, or very brief ones, to 
mention. Dr. Rink himself, who has been close to and has partly 
viewed and delineated the margin of the inland ice in many diffi- 
cult places from G0° to 70^ n.e., has also ascended the ice itself, 
namely, at Tessiurssak, near Claushavn, in May, 1851 ; but only 
spent some hours in walking upon it and in examining its surface, 
without the intention of trying any inland excursion. 

I am also informed by Dr. Eink that a Danish gentleman who 
visited Greenland in 1862, for the purpose of magnetical obser- 
vations, has walked several miles over this inland ice near 

The natives are generally reindeer-hunting close to the margin 
of the ice, and sometimes cross parts of it. A native gives au 
account of this in the Greenland Journal, ' Atuagagdlintit' of 
1864, in the Eskimo language. As, for instance, he says (' Atuag.' 
p. 451), mentioning the localities from 64° to 65° N. : "On some of 
the hunting-grounds there are dangers to be encountered, namely, 
as follows : — The rivers issuing from the ice are very muddy, also 
when walking over the ice (it presents itself) very fissured, the 

14 NORDENSKJDLD'S and BERGGREN'S journey in 1870. 

crevasses in which cannot be crossed, but must be gone aroixnd, are 
tremendously deep. If somebody should fall into them he could 
never be saved. The reindeer-hunters used to come there. The 
land ice enlarges rapidly," &c. 

The late Mr. Olrik, so many years inspector of North Greenland 
and director of the Greenland trade in Copenhagen, and his 
brother-in-law and predecessor, the well-known conchologist — 
Inspector Moller — also visited the inland ice. In all likelihood, 
the feat of exploring the interior will be again attempted this 
summer by an eminent Arctic and Alpine explorer. 

8, Nordenskjold' s and BerggrerCs Journey in 1870.^ — The account of 
this interesting attempt I give in the leader's words. It is in- 
teresting not only as being the most successful one ever made on the 
inland ice, but in the fact that it was conducted by a very ex- 
perienced Arctic explorer, and by men of science so eminent and 
accomplished as Professor Kordenskjold and Dr. Berggren — a well- 
known botanist, lately Assistant-Professor in the University of 
Lund, and now engaged in botanical travels in New Zealand : — 

" If the inland ice were not in motion, it is clear that its surface 
would be as even and unbroken as that of a sand-field. But this, 
as is known, is not the case. The inland ice is in constant motion, 
advancing slowly but with different velocity in different places, 
towards tlie sea, into which it-passes, on the west coast of Greenland, 
through eight or ten large and a gi'eat many small ice-streams. 
[For a description of these see p. 38.] This movement of the ice 
gives rise in its turn to huge chasms and clefts, the almost bottom- 
less depth of which close the traveller's way. It is natural that 
these clefts should occur chiefly where the movement of the ice is 
most rapid, that is to say, in the neighbourhood of the great ice- 
streams ; but that, on the other hand, at a greater distance from 
these the ground will be found more free from cracks. On this 
account I determined to begin our wanderings on the ice at a point 
as far distant as possible from the real ice-fjords. I should have 
preferred one of the deep ' strom-fjords ' (stream-fjords) for this 
purpose ; but as other business, intended to be carried out during 
the short summer, did not permit a journey, per boat, so far 
southward, I selected instead for my object the northern arm of 
Auleitsivikfjord, which is situated 60 miles south of the ice-ljord 

' From a transktion of liis ' Eedogorelse for en Expedition till Gronland kr 
1870,' in the ' Geolop;ical Mao:azine' (edited by Henry Woodward, f.r.s.), 1872 
(vol. ix.), pp. 303-306, 355-362. The passages within brackets are mine, and 
here and there I liave ventured to make some slight emendations on tlie transla- 
tion (apparently by the learned traveller himself) when such was obviously 
required, but in no case have I iu any way altered his meaning. 


at Jakobzhavn, aud 240 north of that of Godthaab. The inland ice, 
it is true, even in Aiileitssivik Fjord, reaches to the bottom of the 
fjord ; but it only forms there a perpendicular glacier, very similar 
to the glaciers at King's Bay, in Spitzbergen, but not any real ice- 
stream. There was, accordingly, reason to expect that such fissures 
and chasms as might here occur would be on a smaller scale. 

On the 17th of July, in the afternoon, our tent was pitched on 
the shore north of the steep precipitous edge of the inland ice at 
Auleitsivikfjord. After having employed the 18th in preparations 
and a few slight reconnoitrings, we entered on our wanderino-s 
inward on the 19th. We set out earlj in the morning, and first 
rowed to a little bay situated in the neighbourhood of the spot 
occupied by our tent, into which several clayey rivers had their 
embouchures. Here the land assumed a character varied by hill 
and dale, and further inward was bounded by an ice-wall somewhat 
perpendicular and sometimes rounded, covered with a thin layer 
of earth and stones near the edge, only a couple of hundred feet hio-h, 
but then rising at first rapidly, afterwards more slowlj-, to a heio-ht 
of several hundred feet. In m6st places this wall could not possibly 
be scaled ; we, however, soon succeeded in finding a place where it 
was cut through by a small cleft, sufficiently deep to aiford a possi- 
bility -of climbing up, with the means at our disposal — a sledo-e — 
which at need might be used as a ladder, and a line, origihally 
100 fathoms long, but which, proving too heavy a burden, had, 
before our arrival at the first resting-place, been reduced one-half. 
All of us, with the exception of our old and lame boatman, assisted 
in the by no means easy work of bringing over mountain, hill and 
dale, the apparatus of the ice-expedition to this spot, and after our 
dinner's rest, a little further up the ice-wall. Here [as usualj our 
followers left us ; only Dr. Berggren, I, and two Greenlanders (Isak 
and Sisarniak) were to proceed further. We immediately com- 
menced our march, but did not get very far that day. The inland 
ice differs from ordinaiy glaciers by, among other things, the almost 
total absence of moiaine formations. The collection of earth, gravel, 
and stone, with which the ice on the landward edge is covered, are, 
in fact, so inconsiderable in comparison with the moraines of even 
very small glaciers that they scarcely deserve mention, and no 
longer newly-formed ridges of gravel, running parallel with the 
edge of the glacier, are to be met with, at least in the tract visited 
by us. The landward border of the inward ice is, however, dark- 
ened, we can scarcely say covered, with earth, and sprinkled with small 
sharp stones. Here the ice is tolerably smooth, though furrowed 
b}' deep clefts at right angles to the border, such as that made use 

16 nokdenskjOld's and berggren's'joueney. 

of by us to climb up. But in order not immediately to terrify the 
Greenlanders by choosing the way over the frightful and dangerous 
clefts, we determined to abandon this comparatively smooth ground, 
and at first take a southerly direction parallel with the chasms, and 
afterwards turn to the east. We gained our object by avoiding the 
chasm, but fell in instead with extremely rough ice. We now under- 
stood what the Greenlanders meant when they endeavoured to dis- 
suade us from the journey on the ice, by sometimes lifting their 
hands over their heads, sometimes sinking them down to the ground, 
accompanied by to us an unintelligible talk. They meant by this to 
describe the collection of closely-heaped pyramids and ridges of ice 
over which we had now to walk. The inequalities of the ice were, 
it is true, seldom more than 40 feet high, with an inclination of 
25° to 30''. But one does not get on very fast when one has con- 
tinually to drag a heavily-laden sledge up so irregular an acclivity, 
and immediately after to endeavour to get down uninjured, at the 
risk of getting one's legs broken, when occasionally losing one's 
footing on the here often very slippery ice, in attempting to mode- 
i-ate the speed of the downward-rushing sledge. Had we used an 
ordinary sledge, it would have been immediately broken to pieces ; 
but as the component parts of our sledge were not nailed, but tied 
together, it held together at least for some hours. 

Already the next day we perceived the impossibility, under such 
circumstances, of dragging with us the thirty days' provisions with 
which we had furnished ourselves, especially as it was evident that, 
if we wished to proceed further, we must transform ourselves from 
draught to pack horses. We, therefore, determined to leave the 
sledge and part of the provisions, take the rest on our shouldei's, and 
proceed on foot. We got on quicker, though for a sufficiently long 
time over ground as bad as before. The ice became gradually 
smoother, and was broken by large bottomless chasms, which one 
must either jump with a heavy load on one's back — in which case 
woe to him who made a false step — or else make a long circuit to 
avoid. After two hours' wandering the region of clefts was passed. 
We, however, in the course of our journey, very frequently met with 
portions of similar ground, though none of any very great extent. 
We were now at a height of more than 800 feet above the level of 
the sea. Further inward the surface of the ice, except the occa- 
sionally-recurring cleft, resembled that of a stony sea-midden, bound 
in fetters by the cold. The rise upwards was still quite perceptible, 
though frequently interrupted by shallow valleys, the centres of 
which were occupied by several lakes or ponds, with no apparent 
outlet, though they received water from innumerable rivers running 


along the sides of the excavation. These rivers presented in many 
places not so dangerous, though quite as time- wasting, a hindrance 
to our progress as the clefts— with this difference, however, that 
they did not so often occur: but the circuits to avoid them were so 
much the longer. During the whole of our journey on the ice we 
constantly enjoyed fine weather ; frequently there was not a single 
cloud visible in the whole sky. The warmth was to us, clad as we 
were, sensible ; higher up, in the shade, as much as 1° or 8^ Centi- 
grade [19--1:^ or 17-6" Fahr.], but in the feun 25^ to 30° Cent. [77 to 86' 
Fahr.]. After sunset^ the water-pools froze, and the night was very 
cold ; we had no tent with us, and, although our party consisted of 
four men, only two ordinary sleeping-sacks. These were open at both 
ends, so that two persons could, though with great difficulty, with 
their feet opposite to each other, squeeze themselves into one sack. 
With rough ice for a substratum, the bed was thus so uncomfortable 
that, after a few hours' sleep, one was awakened b}' a cramp in one's 
closely-contracted limbs ; and, as there was only a thin tarpaulin 
between the ice and the sleeping-sack, the bed was extremely cold 
to the side resting on the ice, which the Greenlanders, who turned 
back befo7e us, described to Dr. Nordstrom [one of Professor Nor- 
denskjold's ])arty in Greenland] by shivering and shaking throughout 
their whole bodies. Ournights' rests were, there fore, seldom long; but 
our midday rest, during which, we could bask in a glorious warm 
sun-bath, was taken on a proportionately more copious scale, whereby 
I was enabled to take observations for both altitude and longitude. 
On the surface of the inland ice we do not meet with any stones 
at a distance of more than a cable's length from the border ; but we 
find everywhere, instead, vertical cylindrical holes, of a foot or two 
deep, and from a couple of lines to a couple of feet in section, so 
close one to another that one might in vain seek between them 
room for one's foot, much less for a sleeping-sack. We had always 
a system of ice-pipes of this kind as a substratum when we rested 
for the night ; and it often happened, in the morning, that the 
warmth of our bodies had melted so much of the ice, that one's 
sleeping sack touched the water wherewith the holes were always 
nearly full. But, as a compensation, wherever we rested, we had 
only to stretch out our hands to obtain the very finest water to 
drink. The holes in the ice filled with water are in no way con- 
nected with each other, and at the bottom of them we found every- 
where, not only near the border, but in the most distant parts of 
the inland ice visited by us, a layer, some few millimetres thick, 

' The reader must, however, remember that nt that season there was con- 
tiimous daylight throughout the twenty-tour hours. — [Ed.] 



of grey powder, often conglomerated into small round balls of loose 
consistency. Under the microscope, the principal substance of 
this remarkable powder appeared to consist of white angular 
transparent crystals. We could also observe remains of vegetable 
fragments; yellow, imperfectly translucent particles, with, as it 
appeared, evident surfaces of cleavage (felspar), green crystals 
(augite) and black opaque grains, which were attracted by the 
magnet. The quantity of these foreign components is, however, 
so inconsiderable, that the whole mass may be looked upon as one 
homogeneous substance. An analysis, by Mr. G. Lindstrom, of 
this fine glacial sand gave : — 

Silicic acid G2-25 

Alumina 14-93 

Sesquioxide of iron 0"74 

Protoxide 4-6-1: 

Protoxide of manganese 0-07 

Lime 5-09 

Magnesia 3-00 

Potassa 2-02 

Soda 4-01 

Phosphoric acid 0-11 

Chlorine 0-06 

Water, organic substance (100° to red-heat) .. .. 2-86 

Hygroscopic water (15^ to 100- ) 0-34 


Hardness inconsiderable, crystallization probably monoclinic. The 
substance is not a clay, but a sandy trachytic mineral, of a com- 
position (especially as regards soda) which indicates that it does 
not originate in the granite region of Greenland. Its origin 
appears therefore to me very enigmatical. Does it come from the 
basalt region ? or from the supposed volcanic tracts in the interior 
of Greenland ? or is it of meteoric origin ? The octahedrally- 
crystallised magnetic particles do not contain any traces of nickel. 
As the principal ingredient corresponds to a determinate chemical 
formula, it would perhaps be desirable to enter it under a separate 
class in the register of science, and for that purpose I propose for 
this substance the name of Kryohonite (from /cpous and kwis). 

When I persuaded our botanist, Dr. Berggren, to accompany me 
in the journey over the ice, we joked with him on the singularity 
of a botanist making an excursion into a tract, perhaps the only 
one in the world, that was a perfect desert as concerns botany. 
This expectation was, however, not confirmed. Dr. Berggren's 
quick eye soon discovered, partly in the surface of the ice, partly 
in the above-mentioned powder, a brown poly cellular alga, which, 


little as it is, together with the powder and certain other micro- 
scopic organisms b}' which it is accompanied, is the most dangerous 
enemy to the mass of ice, so man}' thonsand feet in height, and 
hundreds of miles in extent. The dark mass absorbs a far greater 
amount of the sun's rays of heat than the white ice, and thus pro- 
duces over its whole surface deep holes which greatly promote 
the process of melting. The same plant has no doubt played the 
same part in our country, and we have to thank it, perhaps, that 
the deserts of ice which formerly covered the whole of northern 
Europe and America, have now given place to shady woods and 
undulating corn-fields. Of course a great deal of the grey powder 
is carried down in the rivers, and the blue ice at the bottom of 
them is not unfrequently concealed by a dark dust. How rich 
this mass is in organic matter is proved by the circumstance, 
amongst others, that the quantity of organic in it was sufficient 
to bring a large collection of the grey powder, which had been 
carried away to a distant part of the ice by sundry now dried-up 
glacier streams, into so strong a process of fermentation or putre- 
faction, that the mass, even at a great distance, emitted a most dis- 
agreeable smell, like" that of butyric acid." Dr. Berggren has 
described these organisms in the ' Ofv. Kongl. Vet.-Akademiens 
Forh.' for 1871, p. 293, under the name of Ancylonema NoixlensJcidldii 
Berggr. Protococcus nivalis is also common, as well as P. vulgaris 
and Scytomena gracilis. 

" At our midday rest on the 21st we had reached lat. 68° 21' and 
36' long, east of the place where our tent was pitched, and a height 
of 1400 feet above the level of the sea. Later in the day, at our 
afternoon rest, the Greenlanders take to take off their boots and 
examine their little thin feet — a serious indication, as we soon 
perceived. Isak presently informed us, in broken Danish, that he 
and his companions now considered it time to return. All attempts 
to persuade them to accompany us a little farther failed, and we 
had, therefore, no other alternative than to let them return, and 
continue our excursion without them. We took up our night's 
quarters here. The provisions were divided. The Greenlanders, 
considering that they might perhaps not be able to find our first 
depot, were allowed to take as much as was necessary to enable 
them to leach the tent. We took out cold provisions for five days. 
The remainder, together with the excellent photogcn portable 
kitchen, which we had hitherto carried with us, were laid up in a 
depot in the neighbourhood, on which a piece of tarpaulin was 
stretched upon sticks, that we might be able to find the place on 
our return, which, however, we did not succeed in doing, though 

a 2 


we must have passed in its immediate vicinity. After these pre- 
parations for a parting. Dr. Berggren and I proceeded alone further 
inward. The Greelanders turned back. At first we passed one of 
the above-mentioned extensive bowl-formed excavations in the ice- 
plain, which is here furrowed by innumerable rivers, which often 
obliged us to make long circuits; and when to avoid this we 
endeavoured to make our way along the margin of the valleys, we . 
came instead upon a tract where the ice-plain was cloven by long, 
deep, parallel clefts, running true n.n.e. to s.s.w., quite as difficult 
to get over as the rivets, but far more dangerous. Our progress 
was accordingly but slow. At twelve o'clock on the 22nd we halted 
in glorious, warm sunny weather to make a geographical determi- 
nation ; we were now at a height of 2000 feet, in lat. 68° 22' and in 
a long, of 56' of arc east of the position of our tent at the fjord. 
During the whole of our excursion on the ice we had seen no other 
animals than a couple of ravens, which on the morning of the 22nd, 
at the moment of our separation, flew over our heads. At first, 
however, there appeared in many places on the ice remnants of 
ptarmigans, which seemed to indicate that these birds visit these 
desert tracts in by no means inconsiderable flocks. Everything 
else around was lifeless. Nevertheless, silence by no means 
reigned here ; on bending down the ear to the ice, one could hear 
on every side a peculiar subterranean hum, proceeding from rivers 
flowing within the ice, and occasionally a loud single report like 
that of a cannon gave notice of the formation of a new glacier cleft. 
" After taking the observations, we proceeded over comparatively 
better ground. Later in the afternoon we saw, at some distance 
fiom us, a well-defined pillar of mist, which, when we approached 
it, appeared to rise from a bottomless abyss, into which a mighty 
glacier-river fell. The vast roaring water-mass had bored for 
itself a vertical hole, probably all the way down to the rock, 
situated certainly more than 2000 feet beneath, on which the 
glacier rested. The following day (the 23rd) we rested in lat. 
68° 22', and 76' of arc longitude east from the position of our 
starting-point at Auleitsivik. The provisions we had taken with 
us were, however, now so far exhausted, that we were obliged 
to think of returning. We determined, nevertheless, first to 
endeavour to reach an ice-hill, visible on the plain to the east, 
flora which we hoped to obtain an extensive view: and, in order 
to arrive there as quickly as possible, we left the scanty i-emains of 
our provisions and our sleeping-sack at the spot where we had 
passed the night, taking careful notice of the ice-rocks around, 
and thus proceeded by forced march, without incumbrance. 


" The ice-hill was considerably farther off than we had supposed. 
The walk to it was richly rewarded by "an uncommonly extensive 
view, which showed us that the inland ive continued constantly to 
rise towaids the interior, so tliat the horizon towards the east, 
north, and siAith, was terminated by an ice-border almost as smooth 
as that of the ocean. A journey further (if one were in a condition 
to employ weeks for the purpose — which want of time and pro- 
visions rendered impossible to us) could, therefore, evidently furnish 
no other information concerning the nature of the ice than that 
which we had already obtained ; and even if want of provisions 
had not obliged us to return, we should hardly have considered it 
worth while to add a few days' marches to our journey. Our 
turning-point was situated at a height of 2200 feet above the 
level of the sea, and about 83' of longitude, or 30 miles west of 
the extremity of the northern arm of Auleitsivik Fjord. On 
departing fiom the spot where we had left our jirovisions and 
sleeping-sack, we had, as we supposed, taken careful notice of the 
situation : nevertheless, we were nearly obliged to abandon our 
search as vain — an example which shows how extremely difficult, 
without lofty signals, we find objects again on a slightly undu- 
lating surface eveiywhere similar, like that formed by the inland 
ice. When, after anxiously searching in every direction, we at 
length found our resting-place, we ate our dinner with an excellent 
appetite, made some further reductions in our load, and then set 
off with all haste to the boat, which we reached lute in the evening 
of the 25th. 

" At a short distance from our turning-point we came to a copious, 
deep, and broad river, flowing rapidly between its blue baiaks of 
ice, which were here not discoloured by any gravel, and which 
could not be crossed without a bridge. As it cut off our return, we 
were, at hist, somewhat disconcerted : but we soon concluded that, 
as on our journey out we had not passed any stream of such large 
dimensions, it must, at no great distance, disappear under ihe ice. 
We therefore proceeded along its banks in the direction of the 
current, and, before long, a distant roar indicated that our con- 
jecture was right. The whole immense mass of water here rushed 
down a perpendicular cleft into the depths below. We observed 
another smaller, but, nevertheless, very remarkable waterfall tlie 
next day, while examining, after our mid-day rest, the neighbour 
hood around us with a telescope. We saw, m fact, a pillai' of 
steam rising from the ice at some distance fiom our resting-place, 
and, as the spot was not far out of our way, we steered our cour^e 
bv it. in llio hop(> of meeting— judging fiom lh(^ height of iho misty 


pillar — a waterfall still greater than that jnst described. We were 
mistaken : only a smaller, though, nevertheless, tolerably copious, 
river rushed down from the azure cliifs, to a depth from which no 
splashes rebounded to the mouth of the fall : but there arose instead, 
from another smaller hole in the ice, in the immediate vicinity, an 
intermittent jet of water mixed with air, which, carried hither and 
thither by the wind, wetted the surrounding cliffs with its spray. 
We had, then, here, in the midst of the desert of inland ice, a 
fountain, as far as we could judge from descriptions, very like the 
Geysers, which in Iceland are produced by volcanic heat. 

" In order, if possible, to avoid the district of the rocks, which, on 
our journey out had required so much patience and exertion, we 
had, on returning, chosen a more northerly route, intending to 
endeavour to descend from the ice-ridge up on the slip of ice-free 
land which lies between the inland ice and Disco Bay. The ice 
was here, with the exception of a few ice-hillocks of a few feet 
high, in most places as even as a floor, but often crossed by very- 
large and dangerous clefts, and we were so fortunate as immediately 
to hit upon a place where the inclination towards the land was 
inconsiderable, so that one might have driven up a four-in-hand. 
The remainder of the way along the land was harder, partly on 
account of the very uneven nature of the ground, and partly on 
account of the numerous glacier-streams which we had to wade 
throug;h, with the water far above our boots. At last, at a little 
distance from the tent, we came to a glacier-stream, full of muddy 
water, so large that, after several failures, we were obliged to 
abandon the hope of finding a fordable place. We were, therefore, 
obliged to climb high up again on the shining ice, so as to be able 
to find our way down again further on, after passing the river ; 
but the descent on this occasion was more difficult than before." 
9. WJiat is the Interior of Greenland ? — It may seem a paradox when 
, I say that so far as we can draw any conclusions from the observa- 
tions on the short journeys into the country described in the fore- 
going pages, Greenland has no Interior ! At least if we look upon 
its interior in the light of something else than ice and snow. Solid 
land or rock there is none now to be seen. All that we know of it 
i shows it to be "a waste and weary land where no man comes, or 
, hath come, since the making of the world." The country seems 
only a circlet of islands separated from one another by deep fjords 
or straits, and bound together on the landward side by the great 
ice-covering which overlies the whole interior, and which is pour- 
ing out its overflow into the sea in the shape of glaciers and ice- 
bergs. No doubt, under this ice there lies land, just as it lies under 


the sea ; but nowadays none can be seen, and as an insulating medium 
it might as Avell be water. Cross over that surrounding circlet of 
outskirting itsland, and we ascend to a plateau where nought can 
be seen but ice. No fragment of stone is there — no trace of vege- 
tation, except a trace here and there of the red snow-plant — not a 
sight or sound of moving thing, nothing but hard glacier ice 
stretching north and south — westward after }ou have lust sight of 
the land you have crossed over, and eastward as far as the eye can 
see. The mountains which Dalager saw in South Greenland to the 
eastward were in all likelihood those of the East Coast, and not 
interior mountains, for wherever else it has been penetrated into, 
nothing but ice can be seen on the distant eastern horizon. How 
deep this ice overlies the country it is impossible to say ; in some 
places, I doubt not, many thousand feet. As I have already, in 
the section on the Glaciers and Ice of Greenland, described the 
nature of this glacial covering at some length, it is not necessary for 
me to go into a description of it in this place. I see no reason to 
doubt that it continues throughout the whole country, except where 
fjords may indent it, and even then, in many cases, it is increasing 
— it is filling up these fjords. Dr. Rink has also discussed this 
subject,^ in a paper in the Danish ' Tidsskrift for populair Freui- 
stilling af Naturvidenskab ' for October, 1870, as well as in a 
recently published hrocliure? 

10. Are there any Mountains in the Interior ? — From what I have just 
said, it will be apparent that there are none of an}^ extent. \V hat- 
ever there may have been formerly are now overlaid by an ice- 
covering, viz., by the glacial cap forming, by the immense fall of 
snow and the little evaporation in the cold interior, much more 
rapidly that it can be discharged in the shape of icebergs. There 
are no iceberg " streams " on the east coast of Greenland, and bergs 
are rare off that coast. As soon as you leave the innnediate vicinity 
of the coast no moraine is seen coming over the inland ice, which 

' " Cm Gronlands iiidland, og muliglieden af at Berojse samme " [On the Interior 
of Greenland, and this possibility of Exploring the same], No. of ' Era Videii- 
skabeiis Vcrden.' Copenhagen, 1875. 

■^ " The whole interior of the country, indeed,'" writes Mr. James Geikie, and I 
quote his eonehi.sions us peculiarly bearing on the subject, "would appear to be 
burii d underneath a great de[)th of snow and ice, which levels up the valleys, 
ami sweeps over the hills. Tiie few daring ujeu who have tried to penetrate a 
little way I'rom tlie coast, descril^e the scene as desolate in the extreme -far as 
the eye can ria'li, nothing save one deail, dreary expanse of white. No living 
creature freipients tliis wilderness — neither bird, nor b(;ast, nor insect — not even a 
solitary or lichen can be seen. Over everything bmods a .silence dee)) as 
death, brok(,n oidy when the roaring storm arises to sweep before it the pildess 
blinding snow." — 'The Great Ice Age,' p. 50. 


would certainly not be the case if the ice sloped from any moun- 
tain range or in its tract to the coast touched any land at all. No 
living creature — animal or plant — appeared on this desolate glacier- 
field except a trace here and there of the red snow-plant (Protococcus 
nivalis, P. vulgaris, &c.), so common in Alpine and Arctic regions. I 
find, however, that Dr. Berggren discovered, as already noted, what 
in our anxiety and other duties we might have omitted to observe — 
various low forms of vegetable life, chiefly Diatomacece — though 
approaching the Zygonemacece {Scytonema gracilis, &c.). These might 
be expected, as we continually find them in hollows of icebergs 
{vide Sutherland's ' Arctic Voyage with Captain Penny,' and my 
paper on the discolouration of the sea^ — the facts in which have 
been confirmed both by the Germans and Swedes. I am therefore 
of opinion that the great ice-field slopes from the east to the 
west coast of Greenland (chiefly),^ and that any bergs which may 
be seen on the coast are from local glaciers, or from some un- 
important defluent of the great interior ice. Nor do I think a range 
of mountains at all necessary for the formation of this huge mer de 
glace, for this idea is derived from the Alpine and other mountain 
ranges where the glacial system is a petty atfair compared with 
that of Greenland. I look upon Greenland and its interior ice- 
field — to recapitulate what I will have occasion more fully to 
enter upon when describing the inland ice (p. 34) — in "the light 
of a broad-lipped, shallow vessel, but with breaks in the lips here 
and there, and the glacier like some viscous matter in it. As more 
is poured in, the viscous matter will run over the edges, naturally 
taking the line of the chinks as its line of outflow. The broad lips 
of the vessel, in my homely simile, are the outlying islands or 
" outskirts ;" the viscous matter in the vessel the inland ice, the 
additional matter continually being poured in the enormous snow 
covering, which, winter after winter, for seven or eight months in 
the year, falls almost continuously on it ; and the chinks or breaks 
in the vessel are the fjords or valleys down which the glaciers, repre- 
senting the outflowing viscous matter, empty the surplus of the 
vessel. In other words, the ice flows out in glaciers — overflows 
the land, in fact, down the valleys and fjords of Greenland — by force 
of the superincumbent weight of snow, just as does the grain on 
the floor of a barn when another sackful is emptied on the top of 
the mound already on the floor. The want of much slope, there- 
fore, in the country, and the absence of any great mountain range, 

' Trans. Botanical Society Edin.,' vol. ix. 

'Quart. Jour. Geoi. Soc.'Lond., 1871,' pp. 671-701. 


are of little moment to the movement of this (or any other great 
mass of \a,nd-ice) provided ice have snow enough. In the Appendix to 
Lyell's ' Antiquity of Man,' p. 508, it is stated that Professor Otto 
Terrell, of Lund, Director of the Geological Survey of Sweden, 
from Mount Karsok in the Xoursak I'eninsula, North Greenland, 
saw the inland ice with some " abrupt mountains standing up here 
and there," and that, at Upernavik, Rink saw moraines on the ice. 1 
am inclined to believe that these were only local, and the mountains 
were not in the midst of the inland ice proper, but only part of 
those on the outskirting land. No moraine comes over it from the 

11. What is Greenland? — Greenland, as it appears on our maps, is 
a huge wedge of land hanging down from the North Pole. Add to 
this the exaggerated proportions which Mercator's projection gives 
to it, and the ranges of interior mountains which imaginative geo- 
graphers now and then portray in its interior, and we are all 
sufficiently familiar with its outline. It is now more than half a 
century ago since Giesecke,^ who had long resided in the country, 
expressed his opinion that it was meiely a collection of islands 
bound together by ice ; and from what I have said, further research 
has not invalidated, though it may have supported and extended 
his views. Dr. Petermann considered that it might extend in a 
more or less unbroken Hue to Wrangell's Land, north of Behring 
Strait. With the views of Giesecke I am inclined to concur. That 
the idea of Kane and Hayes, that it ends in an " open Polar Sea," is 
unsupported and unreasonable, there can, I think, be little doubt, 
and the idea is not now coincided in by many whose opinions on 
such a matter can be received as of much moment. 1'hat it is a 
collection of islands bound together by the inland ice and its out- 
pouring glaciers I have already ventured to state my belief as being 
a well-observed fact, and that, in a collection of broken islands, it 
extends throughout the Arctic Polar basin perhaps on to ^^'rangel^s 
Land is, I further believe, not at all improbable. Shortly before 
writing these notes I read the admirable papers of Lieutenant 
Payer on Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord ;^ and while admitting that this 
and many other east-coast Ijords may penetrate the land for gieat 
distances, I do not think that his views tend materially ti) alter the 
ductriue I have stated. It was luny; a belief that some of the west- 

' Appendix to Scoresby's 'Voyage to the Northern Wlialu Fi.shcry,' \>. HIT, iuul 
Scoresby, Unci., p. 327. 

' ' Gcogr. Mitt., IhTl,' Heft. iv. and v. This is suppo.sed to ^tn tih in from 
the east c<ia.-t, in lat. fi.5° (rjVie picturo of it by Payer, in I\-teim(inirs 'Giog. 
Mitth.,' 1871, iiiid in the ' l,ei»ure Hour' for Oct. 187J). 


coast fjords — particularly those about Omenak Fjord and Disco 
Bay— cut Greenland in two (see p. 42), and the Eskimo to this 
day have traditions of timber drifting out, and even of men coming 
through these fjords from the east coa>st. But whether this was 
so or not in former times, we know this is not so now, and as all 
of the west Greenland fjords are known as to their termination, 
there need be little or no doubt as to the fact of Franz Joseph Fjord 
not now reaching through to the west coast. Though the exact 
heads of some of these fjords have not been reached, it is known 
that they are terminated by the ice face of a glacier. So that, 
thouo-h there may not be now water communication between the 
east and west coast, it is just possible that at one time, before the 
spread of the inland ice choked up these fjords (as we know it has 
done Jakobshavn ice fjord and others within the memory of man), 
it may have been so in former times ; and even yet there may be 
no land shutting off the one end of the fjord from the other. The 
Germans did not see the inland ice. That means nothing more 
than that they did not penetrate far enough to pass over the out- 
skirring land. 

12. Can Greenland he crossed f— It may, I think, over the smooth, 
suow-covered inland ice at certain seasons of the year, say in 
May, when it is tolerably mild, and the whole summer is before 
us, and the snow has not yet melted off the ice. Later in the 
'season the snow melts off the ice, and, as happened in our 
case, travel was impossible with sledges. Later, again, as when 
Dalager and Hayes travelled, the winter is coming on, the nights 
are dark, and the cold is intense. After much hardship and with a 
fortuitous concourse of favourable circumstances, the country might 
be crossed to the east coast, but I do not think the travellers could 
return the same way. For even were it possible for them to cany 
provisions for themselves and dogs, even allowing them to eat 
their spare dogs now and then, it would certainly not be possible 
to carry enough for the return journey also, if even the snow cover- 
ing still remained on the ice. It would be too great a risk to 
depend on getting provisions by reindeer-hunting on the east coast, 
so that a depot or a ship would be needed to await them there. 
To return down the east coast would be almost as dangerous and 
risky as to return acro.-s the inland ice. However, in South Green- 
land, where the continent is narrow, it might be possible to accom- 
plish this. Hitherto I have spoken of a journey from the west to 
the east coast, because visits to the latter coast are so rare and 
difficult, that 1 had left out of account the chances of any one ever 
attempting it there. Still there is a chance of it being done, and 


done much more safely and easily from the east than from the west 
coast. It is even possible that, penetrating the country from Franz 
Josef or other fjord, and then taking to sledge at a favourable time 
of the year, that the journey could be performed with comparative 
ease, for, once arrived at the west coast, there would not be much 
difficulty in getting succour fiom the Eskimo or Danish settle- 

I do not despair of its being done ; and if judiciously gone' 
about, I do not think the risks are greater than the problem to be 

3. Greenland Glaciers and Sea-Ice.' 

It is difficult — if not impossible — to describe Greenland glaciers 
without trenching on subjects of hot and, shall I say, heating contro- 
versy. In touching again on the subject of Arctic ice-action and 
glacial remains in Britain, I am well aware that I am risking the 
stirring up of a hardly subsided degree of controversy most dis- 
quieting to the peace of mind of men unwilling to enter the lists 
of combatants. Of late years, however, the subject has received 
new light from the hypothesis, propounded first, I believe, by 
Agassiz,^ that Scotland and other portions of the north of Europe 
were at one time covered with an icy mantle, and that it is to this, 
and not to the agency of floating ice, that the glaciaP markings and 
remains so abundantly scattered o^'^er our country are due. More 
recently still, this theory, at one time so violently opposed, has 
been brought into almost universal favour by the publication of 
the fact that Greenland is at this day exactly in the condition in 
which Agassiz, reasoning on observed facts, hypothetically de- 
scribed North Britain to have been. This new start has been 
chiefly due to the writings of Dr. H. Eink, of Copenhagen (until 
recently, and for many years previously, Royal Inspector of South 
Greenland, and now Director of the Eoyal Commerce of Greenland), 
translated in the ' Journal of the Eoyal Geographical Society,'* 
though the facts were known long previously to his placing them 
before English geographers in a clear light. Accordingly, thanks 

' This paper Ls, to a great extent, reprinted from tlie " riiysics of Arctic 
Ire" ('Quarterly Journal of the (jieological Society,' vol. xxvii., 1.S71, p. G71. 

^ ' Edin. New Phil. Journ.,' vol. xxxiii., p. 217; ' I'roc. Oleol. Soc, vol. iii., 
p. 327. 

' I use the word "Glacial" as expressing all relating to ice, on sea or land ; 
while tlio word glacier is, of course, u.sed in the ordinary accoptalion of tlie term. 

■• Vol. xxiii. p. 145 (\Hi>?,); ' Proc. of Soc.,' vol. vii. \>. 7('> (ISi,:i). It was al.--i> 
descrihed hy Dr. Sutlierland (from Kink) in Inglrficld's ' Suiamer Search \\<v Sir 
•loiiii Kniiiklin ' (IS,"j:'.), AjiptUflix, p. K!:;. 


to the labours of Smith of Jordanhill/ Lyell,'^ Chambers,^ Milne- 
Home,* Darwin,® Fleming,® Murchison,'' Peach,* Jamieson,^ Eamsay,'® 
Thomas Brown," Crosskey,'^ McBain,'* Howden,'* Jolly,'® Archibald 
Geikie,'® James Geikie," and many other geologists, we are in 
possession of a body of fects which enable us to reason on th© 
subject with a degree of certainty which would otherwise have 
been impossible. Let us then examine in a concise manner the 
subject of the present glaciation of Greenland and other Arctic 
countries, and ice-action generally. 

Previously to doing so, I may say that I have enjoyed oppor- 
tunities of studying ice-action in British Columbia, Washington 
Territory, Oregon, California, &c., and on the western and eastern 
shores of Davis Straits and Baffin Bay — that I have voyaged over 
the seas of Spitzbergen and Greenland — that I have passed a whole 
summer in the Danish possessions in Greenland, at a post situated 
in close proximity to the great ice-fjord Jakobshavn, one of the chief 
sources of icebergs in Mid-Greenland — and that, as already men- 
tioned, I was one of those who attempted a journey over this great 

' ' Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc' vol. vi. ; ' Memoirs of the Wernerian Natural 
History Society,' vol. viii. ; and 'Newer Pliocene Geology.' 

^ ' Proc. Geol. Soc.,' vol. iii. ; ' Antiquity of Man ; ' ' Elements ' and ' Prirv- 
ciples,' &c. &e. 

^ 'Ancient Sea Marsjins,' and ' Edin. New Phil. Journ.' 1853 and 1855. 

* 'Coal-fields of Mid-Lothian;' 'Trans. Roy. Sue. Edin.,' vol. xvi. ; ibid. 
vol. XXV. 1869, &c. " ' Phil. Trans., 1839.' 

" 'The Geological Deluge, ms interpreted l)y Baron Cuvier and Professor 
Buckland, inconsistent with the Testimony of Moses and the Phenomena of 
Nature ; ' ' Lithology of Edinburgh,' &c. 

' 'Brit. Assoc. Rep.,' vol. xx. ; 'Proc. R.G.S.,' vol. vii. ; 'Russia in Europe.' 
&c. &c. 

* 'Proceedings of the Royal Physical Society,' Edin. 1861 ; 'Edin. New Phil. 
Journ.,' n. s. vol. ii. &c. 

° ' Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc.,' vols. xiv. xvi. xviii. xix. and xxiv. 

'» ' Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc.,' vol. xviii. ; ' Glaciers of Wales,' &c. 

" * Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin.,' vol. x.xiv. 

'^ ' Trans. Geol. Soc. Glasgow.' vols. ii. and iii. 

'^ 'Procl Roy. Phys. Soc. Edin.' 1859-186-2. 

'^ ' Proc. Roy. Phys. Soc.,' and ' Trans. Geol. Soc. Edin.,' vol. i. 

'° ' Trans. Geol. Soc. Edin.' vol. i. 

" ' Scenery of Scotland; ' ' Edin. New Phil. Journ.' 1861 ; ' Trans. Geol. Soc, 
Glasgow,' vols. i. iii. &c. 

'' ' Trans. Geol. Soc. Glasgow," vol. iii. ; ' The Great Ice Age ' (1874). That 
this list by no means exhausts the names of those who by their writings have 
advanced the subject, or contains all the papers of those mentioned, is self- 
evident. Tiie names of Bald, Imrie, Hall, MaeCulloch, Dick-L.uider, Trevelytm, 
J. D. and E. Forbes, Hibbert, Maxwell. Prestwich, INIaclaren. Craig, I.aiids- 
borough, Mackenzie, Professor Jas. Thomson, Nicol, Gumming, Cleghorn, Smith, 
Miller, Hopkins, Brickenden, Brvce, Martin, Hall, Macinto.-h, Murphy, Lubbock, 
the Duke of Argyll, Searles, Wood, juu , Croll. De Ranee, ami otiiers, are 
familiar as having done good service; but I have only referred to the papers 
which liave come imraediatelv before me. 


interior ice-cap. I may, however, mention that in 1867,we were not 
far enongl) north, or early enough in Davis Straits, to see anj^thing 
of the action of sea-ice, and that, though I saw the " inhmd ice " 
close af hand for the first time that year, yet I added nothing to the 
knowledge which my observations duiing a much more extended 
voyage along the northern shores of Greenland and the western 
shoies of Davis Straits enabled me to gain as early as 1861. 
Accordingly many of these descriptions are written almost verbatim 
from my notes of that date, and the views I now enunciate were 
formed at that period also. lam, in addition, not ignoiant of the 
remains of the glacial period in Scandinavia and Great Britain, as 
well as in North America and other countries. Though the facts 
here narrated will, in almost every case, be wholly derived fiom 
my own observation, I wish it to be distinctly understood that I 
do not present them as any thing new, but solely as the observa- 
tions and conclusions of an independent student of the subject, and 
as therefore of some value. If some of the facts here related are 
already familiar to the reader from other sources, I can only plead 
that few, if any, of them are yet suf&cientl}^ well understood, or 
received into the commonwealth of knowledge as confirmed facts, not 
to admit of being repeatedly described by independent observers. 

4. Glacier-System of Grkemland. 

Greenland is in all likelihood a large wedge-shaped island, or 
series of islands, surrounded by the icy Polar basin on its northern 
shores, and with Smith Sound, Baffin Bay, Davis Straits, and the 
Spitzbergen, or Greenland Sea of the Dutch, the " old Greenland 
Sea " of the English whalers, completing its insularity on its western 
and eastern sides. The whole of the real de facto land of this great 
island consists, then, of a circlet of islets, of greater or less extent 
circling round the coast, and acting as the shores of a great interior 
mer de glace — a huge inland sea of fresh- water ice, or glacier, which 
covers the whole extent of the country to an unknown depth. 
Beneath this icy covering must lie the original bare ice-covered 
country, at a much lower elevation than the surrounding circlet of 
i.slands. These islands are bare, bleak, and more or less moun- 
tainous, reaching to about 2000 feet ; the snow clears off, leaving 
room for vegetation to burst out during the short Arctic summer. 
The breadth of this outskirting land vaiios, as do the spaces 
between the difi'orent islands. These inlets between the islands 
constitute the fjords of Greenland, and are the channels through 
which the ovei-fl(jw of the interior ice discharges itself. It is on 


these islanrls, or outskirting land, tliat the population of Greenland 
lives, and the Danish trading-posts are built— all the rest of the 
country, Math the exception of this island circlet, being an icy, 
landless, sea-like waste of glacier, which can be seen here and 
there peeping out in the distance. On some of the large and more 
mountainous islands, as might be expected in such a climate, there 
are small independent glaciers, in many cases coming down to the 
sea, and there discharging icebergs ; but these glaciers are of little 
importance, and have no connection with the great internal ice-cover- 
ing of the country. I have called the land circling this interior 
ice desert " a collection of islands," because though many of them 
are joined together by glaciers, and only a few are wholly insulated 
by water, many of them (indeed, the majority) are bounded on 
their eastern side by this internal inland ice ; yet, whether bounded 
by water or by ice, the boundary is perpetual, and whatever be the 
insulating medium, they are to all intents and purposes islands. 

1. The Interior Ice-field. — This is well known to the Danes in 
Greenland by the name of the " inlands iis," and though a familiar 
subject of talk amongst them from the earliest times, it is only a 
very few of the " colonists " who have ever reached it. The natives 
everywhere have a great horror of penetrating into the interior, not 
only on account of the dangers of ice-travel, but from a super- 
stitious notion that the interior is inhabited by evil spirits in the 
shape of all sorts of monsters. 

Crossing over the comparatively narrow strip of land, the 
traveller comes to this great inland ice (fig. 1, a). If the termina- 
tion of it is at the sea, its face looks like a great ice wall : indeed 
the Eskimo called it the SermiJc soaJc, which means this exactly. 
The height of this icy face varies according to the depth of the 
valley or fjord which it fills. If the valley is shallow the height is 
low ; if, on the contrary, it is a deep glen, then the sea-face of the 
glacier in the ijord is lofty. From 1000 to 3000 feet is not un- 
common. In such situations the face is always steep, because bergs 
are continually breaking off from it; and in such situations it is 
not only dangerous to approach it, on account of the ice falling, or 
the wave caused by the displacement of the water, but from the 
great steei)ness of the face it is rarely possible to get on to it in 
such situations.^ In such places Dr. Eink has generally found 
that it rises by a gradual slope to the general level plateau beyond.^ 

' Tlie " great glacier " of Humboldt is merely such an exposed glacier-face, 
tliouo;h of gn at extent. 

^ Kane speaks about the " escaladed structure " of the Greenland glacier 
('Arctic Explunitions ' [American ed.], vol. ii. p. 284). This phrase .seems to 





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However, where it does not reach the sea, it is often possible to 
climb on it fj'om the land by a gentle slope, or even in some cases 
to step up on it as it shelves np. Once fairly on the inland ice a 
dreary scene meets the view. Far as the eye can reach to the 
north and to the south is this same great ice-field, the only thing 
to relieve the eye being the winding black circuit of the coast-line 
land or islands before desciibed, here and there infringing in little 
peninsulas on the ice, there the ice dovetailing in the form of a 
glacier on the land, and now and then the waters of a deep fjord 
penetrating into the ice-field, its circuit marked by the black line of 
coast surrounding it on either side, the eastern generally being the 
ice-wall of the glacier, the western being the sea. Travelling a 
short distance on this interior ice, it seems as if we were travelling 
on the sea. The land begins to fade away behind us like the shore 
receding as we sail out to sea ; while far away to the eastward 
nought can be seen but a dim, clear outline like the horizon bound- 
ing our view. The ice rises by a gentle slope, the gradient being 
steeper at first, but gradually getting almost imperceptible thoujih 
real. In the winter and spring this ice-field must be covered with 
a deep blanket of snow, and the surface must then be smooth as a 
glassy lake ; but in the summer, by the melting of the snow, it is 
covered with pools and coursing streams gf icy-cold water, which 
either find their way over the edge, or tumble with a hollow sound 
through the deep crevasses in the ice. How deep these crevasses go, 
it is impossible to say, as we could not see to the bottom of them, 
nor did the sounding-cord reach down except a short way. The 
depth of the ice-covering will of course vary ; when it lies over a 
valley it will be deeper, over a mountain-top less. All we know is, 
that just now it is almost level throughout, hill and dale making 
no difference. However, with such a huge superincumbent mass 
of ice, the average height of the coast-lying islands is greater than 
that of the inland ice, and it is only after climbing considerable 
heights that it can be seen.' Therefore supposing this covering to 
be removed, I think the country would look like a huge, shallow, 
oblong vessel with high v/alls around it. The surface of the ice is 
ridged and furrowed after the manner of glaciers generally ; and 

have arisen frora the translator of Dr. Rink's abstract in the ' Journ. Royal Geog. 
Soc.,' I. c, having mistaken the word "ice-stream" for "ice-steps." The "ice- 
steps," or " platfoim," so universally described by the authors who have followed 
the translation of Dr. Rink's remarks, have no existence in nature, or in the 
writings of the eminent geographer mentioned. 

' In Rink's ' Grouland,' ii. p. 2, are two characteristic views of the appearance 
of the interior ice seen from such elevations. 


this furrowing does not decrease as we go further inland ; on the 
contrary, as far as our limited means of ohservation go, it seems to 
increase ; so that even were it possible to cross this vast icy-desert 
on dog-sledges when the snow is on the ground, I do not think it 
would be possible to return, and its exploration would require the 
aid of a ship on the other side. On its surface there appears not a 
trace pf any living thing except a minute alga ; and after leaving 
the little outpouring offshoot of a glacier from it, the dreariness of 
the scene is not relieved by even the sight of a patch of earth, a 
stone, or aught belonging to the world we seem to have left behind. 
Once, and only once, during our attempt to explore this waste did 
I see a faint red streak, which showed the existence of the red snow- 
plant (Protococcus nivalis) ; but even this was before the land had 
been fairly left. A few traces of other alga were seen by Dr. Berg- 
gren, as I have already intimated (pp. 19 and 24). Animal life seems 
to have left the vicinity ; and the chilliness of the afternoon breeze, 
which regularly blew with piercing bitterness over the ice-wastes, 
even caused the Eskimo dogs to couch under the lee of the sledge, 
and made us, their masters, draw the fur hoods of our coats higher 
about our ears.^ Whether this ice-field is continuous from north to 
south it is not possible in the present state of our knowledge to 
decide ; but most likely it is so. Whether its longitudinal range is 
continuous is more difBcult to decide, though the explorers already 
mentioned saw nothing to the eastward to break their view; ^o 
that, as I shall immediately discuss, there seems every probability 
that in Greenland there is one continuous unbroken level field of 
ice, swaddling up in its snowy winding-sheet hill and valley, with- 
out a single break for upwards of 1200 miles^ of latitude, and an 
average of 400 miles of longitude, or from Cape Farewell to the 
upper extremity of Smith Sound, and from the west coast of 
Greenland to the east coast of the same country, a stretch of ice- 
covered country infinitely greater than ever was demanded hypo- 
thetically by Agassiz in support of his glacier-theory. 

2. Tlie Defluents of this Inland Ice-field. — Are there any ranges of 
mountains from the slopes of which this great interior ice descends? 
As I have said, we are not in a position to absolutely decide ; but 

' For description of tlie efifects of the ice in limiting animal and vegetable life 
vide the author's "Mammalian Fauna of Greenland," ' Proc. Znol. Soc. Lond. 
1868,' p. .337 ; and "Florula Discoana," ' Trans. Bot. Soc. Edin.,' vol, ix. p. 440. 

^ Rink, ' Journ. R. ii. S.' I. r., bays 800 miles; but throughout his valuable 
works he only speaks of the Danish portion of Greenland, of which it professes 
solely to be a description. Jainieson and other writers seem to think that it is 
only North Greenland that is covered. All the country, nortJi and sduth, is 
equally swathed in ice. 


the probabilities are in favour of the negative/ There are no ice- 
berg " streams " on the east coast of Greenland, and bergs are rare off 
that coast. If there were many icebergs, the field of floe~ice which 
skirts that coast, and which has prevented exploration except in 
very open seasons, would soon be broken up by the force with which 
the bergs, breaking off from the land, would smash through the ice- 
field, and, acting as sails, help, by the aid of the winds, as elsewhere, 
to sweep it away. I am therefore of opinion that the great ice- 
field slopes from the east to the west coast of Greenland, and that 
any bergs which may be seen on that coast are from local glaciers, 
or from some unimportant defluent of the great interior ice. Nor 
do I think a range of mountains at all necessary for the formation 
of this huge mer de glace ; for this is an idea wholly derived from 
the Alpine and other mountain-ranges where the glacier system is 
a petty aifair compared with that of Greenland. I look upon Green- 
land and its interior ice-field in the light of a broad-lipped shallow 
vessel, but with chinks in the lips here and there, and the glacier, 
like viscous matter ^ in it. As more is poured in, the viscous matter 
will run over the edges, naturally taking the line of the chinks as 
its line of outflow. The broad lips of the vessel, in my homely simile, 
are the outlying islands or " outskirts ;" the viscous matter in the 
vessel the inland ice, the additional matter continually being poured 
in in the form of the enormous snow covering, which, winter after 
winter, for seven or eight months in the year, falls almost con- 
tinuously on it ; the chinks are the fjords or valleys down which 
the glaciers, representing the outflowing viscous matter, empty the 
surplus of the vessel. In other words, the ice floats out in glaciers, 
overflows the land, in fact, down the valleys and fjords of Greenland, 
by force of the superincumbent weight of snow, just as does the grain 
on the floor of a barn (as admirably described by Mr. Jamieson) 
when another sackful is emptied on the top of the mound already 
on the floor. " The floor is flat, and therefore does not conduct the 
grain in any direction ; the outward motion is due to the pressure 
of the particles of grain on one another ; and, given a floor of infinite 
extension, and a pile of sufficient amount, the mass would move 
outward to any distance ; and with a very slight pitch or slope it 
would slide forward along the incline." To this let me add that if 
the floor on the margin of the heap of grain was undulating, the 
stream of grain would take the course of such undulations. The 
want, therefore, of much slope in a country, and the absence of any 

> While, for the sake of illustration, speaking of ice as " viscous matter," I must 
not be understood as giving support to the " viscous theory " of glacier motion. 


great mountain-range, are of very little moment " to the movement 
of land-ice, provided we have snoio enough." ^ 

As the ice reaches the coast it naturally takes the lowest level. 
Accordingly it there forks out into glaciers or ice-rivers, by which 
means the overflow of this great ice-lake is sent off to the sea. The 
length and breadth of these glaciers varies according to the breadth 
or length of the interspace between the islands down which it flows.^ 
If the land projects a considerable way into the great ice-lake, then 
the glacier is a long one ; if the contrary is the case, then it is 
hardly distinguished from the great interior ice-iield, and, as in the 
case of the great glacier of Humboldt in Smith Sound, the interior 
ice may be said to discharge itself almost without a glacier. The 
face of Humboldt's glacier is in breadth about 60 miles. This, 
therefore, I take to be the interspace between the nearest elevated 
skirting land on either side. It thus appears that, between the 
inland ice and the glacier, the difference is one solely of degree, not 
of kind, though, for the sake of clearness of description, a nominal 
distinction has been drawn. The glacier, as I have said, will 
usually flow to the lowest elevation. Accordingly it may take a 
valley, and gradually advance until it reaches the sea. In the course 
of ages this valley will be grooved down until it deepens to the sea- 
level. The sea will then enter it, and the glacier-bed of former 
times will become one of those fjords which indent the coast of 
Greenland and other northern countries often for many miles ; or 
these may be much more speedily produced by depression of the 
land, such as I shall show is at present going on. By force of the 
sea the glacier proper will then be limited to the land, and its old 
bed become a deep inlet of the sea, hollowed out and grooved by the 
icebergs which pass outwards, until in the course of time, by 
the action of a force which I shall presently describe, the fjords 
get filled up and choked again with icebergs, in all probability 
again to become the bed of some future glacier stream.^ \\'here 
there is no fjord at hand, or where these defluents are not sufficient 
to draw off the surplus supply of ice, the " inland ice " will " boil " 
over the cliffs, overflowing its basin, and appear as hanging glaciers, 
whence every now and again huge masses of ice (the aerial equiva- 

' 'Quart. .Tourn. Geol. Soc.,' xxiv. 18G5, p. IGG. 

- I'ruiterly speakiiif^, accordinj^ to the oidinaiy nomenclaturo, the whole of the 
ice, I'rijia the "neve" downwards, sliould bo calh.d "glaci(3r;" Imt as we havo 
not yet penetrated sufficiently far into tho interior to ohaervo where the " neve" 
ends and the "glacier" begins, I havo for the sake of distinctness adopted tho 
above arbitrary nomcnclatun;. 

' Tlie origin of fjords is more lidly developed iji Section iv. of tin's Memoir 

(p. r.s). 



lent of the bergs) are detaclied, as the attraction of gravity overcomes 
the cohesiveuess of the ice. These have been seen and described 
by Dr. Kane on many parts of the Arctic coast. I noticed them in 
the shape of " miniature glaciers between the cliffs," (' Trans. Bot. 
Soc' ix. 13) at Sakkak, lat. 70° 0' 28" n., and on the Waigat shore 
of Disco Island. In this latter locality they were the overflow of 
the inland ice of the island. They are also seen in the little local 
glaciers, where the bed they move in is shallow, and the seaward or 
outward end high, as near Oraenak, where, however, I did not see 
them, but depend for my information on intelligent Danish officers 
resident in that section. In Alpine regions, away from the coast, 
the glacier, as it pushes its way down into warmer regions, either 
advances or retreats, according to the heat of the summer ; but in 
either case it gives off no great masses of ice from its inferior ex- 
tremity. The same is true of the Arctic glacier when it protrudes 
into some mossy valley without reaching the sea ; but when it reaches 
the sea another force comes into operation. We have seen (1) the 
inland ice-field emptied by (2) the glacier ; we now see the glacier 
relieving itself by means of (3) the iceberg or " ice mountain," as 
the woi d means. 

3. Tlie Iceberg. — When the glacier reaches the sea (fig. 1, e) it 
grooves its way along the bottom under the water for a considerable 
distance ; indeed it might do so for a long way did not the buoyant 
action of the sea stop it. For instance, in one locality in South 
Greenland, in about 62° 32' N. lat., between Fredrikshaab and Fisk- 
ernaesset, or a little north of the Eskimo fishing-station of Avigait, 
and south of another village called Tekkisok, is a remarkable instance 
of this. Here the " lisblink," or the " ice glance " of the Danes 
{i.e., the projecting glacier, though English seamen use the word 
iceblink in a totally different sense, meaning thereby the " loom " of 
ice at a distance), projects bodily out to sea for more than a mile. 
The bottom appears to be so shallow that the sea has no effect in 
raising it up ; and the breadth of the glacier itself is so considerable 
as to form a stout breakwater to the force of the waves. ^ It was 
long supposed that th^ iceberg broke ofT from the glacier by the mere 
force of gravity : this is not so. It is forced off from the parent 
glacier by the buoyant action of the sea from beneath. The ice 
groans and creaks ; then there is a crashing, then a roar like the 
discharge of a park of artilleiy ; and with a monstrous regurgita- 
tion of waves, felt far from the scene of disturbance, the iceberg 
is launched into life. The breeze which blows out from the land, 

' On this subject see also Nordenskjold, I. c, p. 364-5. 


generally for several Lours eveiy da}', seems, according to my observa- 
tion, to have the efiect of blowing the bergs out to bea ; and then 
they may be seen sailing majestically along in long lines out of 
the ice-fjords. Often, however, isolated bergs or groups of bergs 
will float away south or north. Bergs from the ice-streams of 
Baffin Bay Avill be found in the southern reaches of Davis Straits ; 
while others, bearing debris which could only have been accumu- 
lated in South Greenland, will be found frozen in the floes of 
Melville Bay, or Lancaster Sound. It is a common mistake, but 
one which a moment's reflection would surely dissipate, that bergs 
found in the south must all have come from the north, and that 
those further north must have come from the regions still farther 
northward. The winds and the currents waft them hither and 
thither, until by the force of the waves they break into fragments 
and become undistinguishable from the oozy fragments of floes 
around them. Often, however, they will ground either in the fjord 
or outside of it, and in this position remain for months, and even 
years, only to be removed by pieces calving or breaking off from 
them, and thus lightening them, or forced ofii" the bank where they 
have touched bottom by the force of the displaced wave caused by 
the breaking ofi" of a fresh berg. Ice much exposed to the sea only 
breaks off in small ice-calves, but not in bergs. This calving will 
sometimes set the sea in motion as much as 16 miles ofi". The colour 
of the berg is, of course, that of the glacier ; but by the continuous 
beating of the waves on it the sxirface gets glistening. The colour 
of the mass is a dead white, like hard-pressed snow, which in reality 
it is, while scattered through it are lines of blue. These lines are 
also seen in the glacier on looking down into the crevasses, or at the 
glacier-face, and are in all probability caused by the annual melting 
and freezing of the surface-water of the glacier. Then anotlier fall 
of snow comes in the winter ; then the suns of summer melt the 
surface to some slight extent ; this freezes, forming an ice difieient 
in colour from the compressed snow-ice of the glacier, and so on. 
I am aware, however, that this is a subject of controversy ; and this 
view of mine is only brought forward as a probable explanation, 
suggested to me as far back as 1861, when I first saw glaciers in the 
upper reaches of Baffin Bay and on the western shores of Davis 
Strait, and long before I was aware that this streaked or veined 
character of glacier-ice had been a subject of dispute.^ 

' These bhio stripes are several feet ia dimension, and in them are gcntnilly 
found tlie "dirt hands" of fonij^n njatter (clones, (gravel, clay, ike), the rt mains 
of the moiaine. Dr. Rink tliinks tiiat the blue striiies are formed by a tilling up 
of the fissures iu the inland iee with water—" perhaps mixed with snow, gravel, 

G 7 G 5 


The greater portion of these bergs form long " streams " opposite 
their " ice-fjords," these streams being constantly reinforced by fresh 
additions from the land, poured out from the fjord. Hence certain 
localities in Greenland are distinguished by their " ice-streams ;" 
these localities being invariably opposite the mouths of ice-fjords, 
or fjords with great glaciers at their landward end pouring out 
icebergs. Few, if any, as I have already stated, are found on the 
east coast ; but on the west (or Davis Strait and Baffin Bay side, 
from south to north, in the Danish possessions), the following 
localities, among others, chiefly known by their native names, are 
situated : — 

1. SerjQiilik ice-fjord and ice-stream in about N. lat. .. 60 30 

2. Sermeliarsnk „ 61 32 

3. Narsalik „ 61 57 

4. Godthaab „ 64 30 

5. Jakobshava „ 69 12 

6. Tossukatek „ 69 48 

7. Great Kariak „ 70 26 

8. Little Kariak „ 70 36 

9. Sermelik „ 70 41 

10. Itifliarsuk „ 70 52 

11. Innerit „ 70 56 

12. Great Kangerdlursoak .... „ 71 25 

13. Upernivik „ 72 57' 

We have now sketched the ice-field with the glacier and the ice- 
berg. Are there no other defluents of the " inland ice ? " This 
leads lis to speak of: — 

•i. The Suhglacial Stream. — What is under the inland ice is, I fear, 
a question we shall never be able to answer. No doubt the country 
is undulating ; for I believe this immense glaciation overspread 
the country after the close of the Tertiary period, perhaps about the 
same period when Scotland lay under the ice cap. Continuously 
grinding over these rocks, a creamy mud must be formed, which 
mud must now be of considerable thickness, if not swept into hollows 
or washed out from beneath the ice. In the Alps the glacier is said 
to wear for itself a muddy bed, which Agassiz ^ calls la couche de 
houe or la houe glaciaire, and other authors la moraine profonde 

and stones ; and such a refrigeration of tlie water in the fissures may be sup- 
posed to be an important agency in setting in motion these great mountains 
of ice." 

' Kink : Cm den geographiske BeskafFenhed af de danske Handels distrikter 
i Nord-Gronland : udsigt over Nord-gronlands Geognosie. Det Kongl. danske 
Vidensk. Selskab. Skr., 8 Bind, 1853, p. 71, et lib. cit. Dr. Kink altogetlier 
resided for sixteen winters and twenty-two summers in Greenland. 

'^ ' Etudes sur les Glaciers et Systeme Glaciaire." p. 574. 


(fig. 1, fc) ; so that, I thluk, there can be little doubt that the Green- 
land inland ice has triturated down a similar clayey bed. However, 
another instrument in the arrangement, and, if I may use the term, 
" utilisation " of this mud, this moraine prqfonde, comes into pla3^ 
Eink ^ has calculated the yearly amount of precipitation in Greenland 
in the form of snow and rain at 12 inches, and that of the outpour 
of ice by its glaciers at 2 inches. He considers that only a small 
part of the remaining 10 inches is disposed of by evaporation, and 
that the remainder must be carried to the sea in the form of sub- 
glacial rivers. These subglacial rivers are familiar in all Alpine 
countries, and in Greenland pour out from beneath the glacier, 
whether it lies at the sea or in a valley, and in summer and winter. 
He also mentions a lake adjacent to the outfall of a glacier into the 
sea, which has an irregularly intermittent rise and fall. " AVhenever 
it rises, the glacier-river disappears ; but when it sinks, the spring 
bursts out afresh," — showing, as he thinks, a direct connection 
between the two. Aiguing from what has been observed in the 
Alps, he concludes that an amount of glacier-water equivalent to 
10 inches of precipitation on the whole surface of Greenland is not 
an extravagant hypothesis ; and he accounts for its presence partly 
by the transmission of terrestrial heat to the lowest layer of ice, and 
partly by the fact that the summer heats are conveyed into the 
body of the glacier, while the winter cold never reaches it. The 
heat melts the surface-snow into water, which percolates the ice, 
while the cold penetrates a very inconsiderable portion of the 
glacier, whose thickness exceeds 2000 feet. As in the Alpine 
glaciers, these subglacial rivers are thickly loaded with mud from 
the grinding of the glacier on the infrajacent rocks ; in fact, from 
the washings of the moraine profonde. This stream flows in a torrent 
the whole year round, and in every case which I know of (in the 
Arctic regions) reaches the sea eventually, though, no doubt, parting 
on the way with some small amount of its suspended mud. After 
it reaches the sea it discolours the water for miles, finally depositing 
on the bottom a thick coating of impalpable powder. \\ hen this 
falls in the open sea it may be scattered over a considerable space ; 
but when (as in most cases) it falls in narrow long fjords, it collects 
at the bottom, shoaling up these inlets for several miles from their 
heads, until, in the course of time, the fjord gets wholly choked up, 
and the glacier seeks another outlet or gets choked up with bergs, 
which slowly plough their way through the deep banks of clay, 
uutil they get so consolidated together as to shut off the land alto- 

' 'Naturliistorisk Tidsskrift," 8rcl series, vol. i. part 2 (18G2), nnd 'I'loc. Rny. 
Geog. Soc.,' vii. 7<j. 


gether.^ Supposing that the deposit only reaches 3 inches in the 
year, there is a bank or flat 25 feet thick formed in the course of a 
century. However, any one who has seen these muddy sub-glacier 
streams, and the way in which they deposit their mud, must be 
convinced that this estimate is far below the mark, and that an 
important geological deposit, which has never been rightly ac- 
counted for (if even noticed, as far as my observation goes), is form- 
ing off the coast of Greenland and wherever its great glaciers pro- 
trude into the deep quiet fjords. It ought also to be noticed that the 
fjords which have been the scenes of old ice-streams, in almost every 
instance end in a valley at the head, this valley being due, first, to 
the glacier which reclined on it and hollowed it out and, secondly, and 
further down, to the filling up of it by the glacier-clay. This form 
of fjord is not only common in Greenland, but also in every other 
part of the world where I have studied their form and formation. 

After carefully examining and studying this clixy, I can find no 
appreciahle difference between it and the hricli-clay, or fossiliferous 
Boulder-clay. Mr. Milne Home," among other arguments against 
the theory that Boulder-clay has been formed by land-ice, remarks 
that he saw nothing forming in Switzerland at all comparable to 
Boulder-clay. Eeserving to ourselves a doubt on that subject, I can 
only say that long after my opinion regarding the identical cha- 
racter of the subglacial-stream-clay and the fossiliferous brick-clay 
was formed, a very illustrious Scandinavian Arctic explorer visited 
Edinburgh and declared, as soon as he saw the sections of Boulder- 
clay exhibited near that city, that this was the very substance 
he saw forming in under the Spitzbergen ice. Many theoretical 
writers, however, confound the ordinary non-stratified azoic clay, 
and the finer, sti'atified fossiliferous clay. 

In this clayey bed the Arctic Mollusca and other marine animals 
find a congenial home, and burrow into it in great numbers. How- 
ever, as new deposits are thrown down, they keep near the surface, 
to be able to get their food ; so that if to-day a catastrophe were 
to overwhelm the whole marine life of the Arctic regions, it would 
be found (supposing by upheaval or otherwise we were able to 
verify the fact) that the animals would only be imbedded in the 
upper strata of clay, and that the bottom one, with the exception 
of a few dead shells, would be azoic ; yet I need not say how erro- 
neously we should argue if, from this, we drew the inference that, 

'■ I am glad to tind that, independently, this identical view is held by Mr. 
J. W. Taylor, who resided for several years in Greenland, ' Proc. Eoy. Geogr. 
Soc' V. p. 90 (1861). 

- ' Trans. Roy. See. Edin.,' vol. xxv. p. 6t)l ; and ' Estuary of the Forth ' (1871). 


at the time the bottom layers or strata of this laminated clay were 
formed, there was no life in the Arctic waters, or that they were 
formed under circumstances which prevented their being fossili- 
ferous. The bearing of this on the subject in question need scarcely 
be pointed out. It ought to be noted that, supposing wo were able to 
examine the bottom of the Arctic Sea (Davis Straits, for instance), 
it would be found that this clayey deposit would not be found over 
the whole surface of it, but only over patches. For instance, all of 
the ice-fjords would be found full of it to the depth of many feet, 
shoaling off at the seaward ends ; and certain other places on the 
coast would be also covered with it ; but the middle and mouth of 
Davis Straits and Baffin Bay, and the wide intervals between the 
different ice-fjords, would either be bare or but slightly covered 
with small patches from local glaciers ; yet we should reason most 
grievously in error, did we conclude therefrom that the other 
portions of the bottom, covered with sand, gravel, or black mud, 
were laid down at a different period from the other, or under other 
different conditions than geographical position. These ice-rivers 
seem, in the first place, to have taken their direction according to 
the nature of the country over which the inland ice lies, and latterly 
according to the course of the glaciers. No doubt they branch 
over the whole country like a regular river-system.* When the 
glacier reaches the sea, the stream flows out under the water, and, 
owing to the smaller specific gravity of the fresh water, rises to the 
surface, as Dr. Eink describes, " like springs "—though I do not 
suppose that he considers (as some have supposed him to do) that 
that water was in reality spring-water, or of the nature of springs. 

» It may be somewhat superfluous for me to say that these subglacial streams 
are totally different in nature from the streams which flowed in the old water- 
courses found under the drift in various parts of the world. These were the beds 
of the preglacial rivers, and are known to miners as '• sand-dykes,'' " washouts," 
&c. On the North Pacific slope of the Eocky Mountains they are very comuion, 
and are eagerly sought for by the gold-miners, the " old beds " generally y ielduig 
a cousid(;rable amount of gold. In California, so thoroughly have they been 
explored by the gold-diggers that, if proper records had been kept, a nuij) of the 
preglacial rivers might now bt; drawn, almost as detailed as that of the postglacial 
or present river-system. The courses of these ancient rivers appear to have been 
generally in the same direction, and to have iiad their outlets in the valleys near 
about the same pla(X'S as the present rivers. Sometimes these channels seem to 
cross nearly at right angles. The old Yulja channel, for instance, when its course 
was interrupted and diverted, ran through the site of the present village of 
" Timbuctoo," crossing the bed of the present riverat Park's Par ; thence running 
in a north-westerly course, and falling into the Kio do las J'liunas (Feather 
Kiver), near Oroville, a consideral>le distance from its present junction with that 
river at INIarysville. These old channels exhibit the same windings and i)rc- 
cipitous falls as the present river; and they liave been cut in various i)laces by 
caiions anil ravines: and pijrtions of the older deposit, carried down, mingle Willi 
the loose gravel and sand detached by more recent aiiueous action. 


Here are generally swarms of Entomostraca and other marine 
animals, wliich attract flights of gulls, which are ever noisily fight- 
ing for their food in the vicinity of such places. 

We lived for the greater portion of a whole summer at Jakobshavn, 
a little Danish post, 69° 13' n., close to which is the great Jakobshavn 
ice-fjord, which annually pours an immense quantity of icebergs into 
Disco Bay. In early times this inlet was quite open for boats ; and 
Nunatak (a word meaning a " land surrounded by ice ") was once an 
Eskimo settlement. There is (or was in 1867 ) an old man (Manyus) 
living at Jakobshavn whose grandfather was born there. The Tessi- 
usak, an inlet of Jakobshavn ice-fjord, could then be entered by 
boats. Now-a-days Jakobshavn ice-fjord is so choked up by bergs 
that it is impossiijle to go up in boats, and such a thing is never 
thought of. The Tessiusak must be reached by a laboriousjourney 
over land ; and Kunatak is now only an island surrounded by the in- 
land ice, at a distance — a place where no man lives, or has, in the 
memory of any one now living, reached. Both along its shore and 
that of the main fjord are numerous remains of dwellings long unin- 
habitable, owing to it being now impossible to gain access to them by 
sea. The inland ice is now encroaching on the land. At one time it 
seems to have covered many portions of the country now bare. 
In a few places glaciers have disappeared. I believe that this has 
been mainly owing to the inlet having got shoaled by the deposit of 
glacier-clay through the rivers already described. I have little 
doubt that — Graah's dictum^ to the contrary, notwithstanding — a 
great inlet once stretched across Greenland not far from this place, 
as represented on the old maps, but that it has also now got choked 
up with consolidated bergs. In former times the natives used to 
describe pieces of timber drifting out of this inlet, and even tell of 
people coming across ; and stories yet linger among them of the 
former occurrence of such proofs of the openness of the inlet.^ 

' ' Reise til Ostkysten af Gronland,' 1832, and translated by Macdougall, 1837. 

- " There is another bay which I could not investigate to its bottom ou account 
of the immense masses of ice that were setting out, and which is called by the 
natives Ikak and Ikarsek {Sound). It runs between Karsarsuk and Kingatok, 
and its length is from Kai'sarsuk to its end about 15 German miles ; it is situated 
in 72° 48', and the sea, at its entrance, is covered by numerous islands. All the 
natives living in this neighbourhood assured me unanimously that there had been 
a passage formerly to the other side of the land. They told me also that they 
were afraid that, with heavy north-easterly gales, the ice would go oti" again, and 
that the people from the other side, whom they describe as barbarians, would 
come over and kill them. They stated that, from time to time, carcasses of 
whales, which had been killed on the other side, pieces of wood, and fragments of 
utensils, were to be seen driving out of this bay." — Giesecke in Appendix to 
Scoresby's ' Joiuual of a Voyage to the Northern Whalctishery,' p. 468. Owing to 
an erroneous note and reference obtained at secondhand, 1 made it appear, in the 


All that we know is, that such a transcontinental passage, if ever 
it existed, is now shut up. The glacier and the ice-stream have 
not changed their course, though, if the shoaling of the inlet ' goes 
on (and if the glacier continues at its head, nothing is more certain), 
then it is just possible that the friction of the bottom of the inlet 
may overcome the force of the glacier, and that the ice may seek 
another course. As the neighbourhood is high and rocky, this is 
hardly possible with the present contour of the land. At the present 
day, the whole neighbourhood of the mouth of the glacier is full of 
bergs ; and often we should be astonished on some quiet sunshiny day, 
without a breath of wind in the bay, to see the " ice shooting out " 
(as the local phrase is) from the ice-fjord, and to make up with the 
little bay in front of our door in Jakobshavn Kirke covered with 
huge icebergs, so that we had to put off our excursion to the other 
side of the inlet ; and the natives would stand hungry on the shore, 
as nobody would dare put off in his kayak to kill seals, afraid 
of the falling of the bergs. In a few hours the bay would be 
clear, until another crop sprang out from the fjord. At any 
time it would be dangerous to venture near these bergs ; and 
the poor Greenlander often loses his life in the attempt, as the 
bergs, even when aground, have always a slight motion which 
has the effect of stirring up the food on which the seals sub- 
sist. Accordingly the neighbourhood of these bergs is favourable 
for seals, in the attempt to capture which the hapless kayaker not 
unfrequently loses his life by falling ice. When we would row 
between two to avoid a few hundred yards' circuit, the rower would 
pull with muffled oars and bated breath. Orders would be given in 
whispers; and even were Sabine's gull or the great auk to swim 
past, I scarcely think that even the chance of gaining such a prize 
would tempt us to run the risk of firing, and thereby endangering 
our lives by the reverberations bringing down pieces of crumbling 
ice hanging overhead. A few strokes, and we are out of danger ; 

original paper of which thin memoir is a partial reprint, as if this fjord spoken of 
in the preceding extract was Jakobshavn fjord, and that Jakolishavn fjord was 
open to boats in (iiesecke's day. The error was of no great ini]i(ntancc-, but I have 
to thank Prof. Nordenskjijld for calling my attention to it. There is a tradition 
among the whalers that a whale was '' struck " on tlie East Coast of Greenland, 

Fjord or 8coresby Sound maybe the open easterly tcrnuniition of one of these 
fjords now closed by ice on the west ."ide. See, on the question of the former or 
present connection of the fjords on tlie East and West Coasts, Suabyc's 'Green- 
land ' (English Tran.s., 1818.) pp. 98-107. 

' The.^ inlets are, in fact, the "friths" of these ice-rivers. Imleed, tlie term 
I- actually used by some authors. 


and then the pent-np feelings of our stolid fur-clad oarsmen find 
vent in lusty huzzahs ! Yet, when viewed out of danger, this noble 
assemblage of ice palaces, hundreds in number being seen at such 
times from the end of Jakobyhavn Kii-ke, was a magnificent sight ; 
and the voyager might well indulge in some poetic frenzy at the view. 
The noonday heat had melted their sides ; and the rays of the red 
evening sun glancing askance among them would conjure up fairy 
visions of castles of silver and cathedrals of gold floating in a sea of 
summer sunlight. Here was the Walhalla of the sturdy Yikings, 
here the city of the sun-god FrejT, Alfheim, with its elfin caves, 
and Glitner, with its walls of gold and roofs of silver, Gimle, more 
brilliant than the sun, Gladsheim, the home of the happy, and there, 
piercing the clouds, was Himlenberg, the celestial mount, where the 
bridge of the gods touches heaven.^ Suddenly there is a swaying, a 
moving of the water, and our fairy palace falls in pieces, or with an 
echo like a prolonged thunder-peal, it capsizes, sending the waves 
in breakers up to our very feet. Some of these icebergs are of 
enormous size. Hayes calculated that one stranded in Baffin Bay, in 
water nearly half a mile in depth contained about 27,000,000,000 cu- 
bical feet of ice, and must have weighed not less than 2,000,000,000 

It is most probable that the cause of this " shooting out " of 
bergs from the ice-fjord of Jakobshavn is due to the force gene- 
rated by the detachment of a fresh berg from the glacier at the 
extremity of the fjord. Occasionally, at the time of this " shooting 
out," the waters of Jakobshavn harbour (a little fjord, the locality 
of a now extinct glacier) will rise and fall with such tremendous 
force as to snap a ship's cable. Actually the cable of the 'Mari- 
anne,' a brig of 200 tons, was so broken in 1866. This wave is well- 
known to the Greenland Danes, under the name of the ' kaaneel.' ^ 
Various theories are afloat about it and its cause, which is 
not very well known ; but as it only happens when the ice is 
" shooting out " in great quantities, it is most likely caused by the 
displacement of the volume of water confined in the inlet ; and 
this wave is also felt outside ; but its force is lost in the open 
sea. It is also exhibited at Omenak and other harbours, when the 
ice is shooting out of the ice-fjords in their vicinities ; but these 
harbours being situated at a greater distance from the scene of 
action, it is not so much felt as at Jakobshavn, close to the ice- 
fjord. From November to June, the fjords being frozen, there is 
no " shooting out " of bergs but in July, and more especially in 

Hayes, op. c. p. 24. 2 j gpeii the word phonetically. 


August, and on until late in autumn, they pour out in great numbers. 
In concluding what I have got to say regarding the subglacial 
rivers, I cannot help remarking that the effect of this great ice- 
covering over Greenland must be to thoroughly denude any soft 
sedimentary strata which might have reclined on the underlying 
igneous rocks at the time when the whole country got so over- 
spread. Now we know that during the later Miocene epoch the 
country supported a luxuriant vegetation, as evinced by the remains 
which I and others have collected from these beds.^ I was struck, 
when studying this subject in Greenland, with the fact (though I 
have no desire to push the theory too far) that the only places 
where I did not see former ice-action were the very localities where 
these Miocene beds repose. These localities are a very limited 
district on either side of the AVaigat Strait, on Noursoak Penin- 
sula, and Disco Island, neither of these localities having apparently 
been overlain at any time by the great inland ice. Noursoak Penin- 
sula juts out from the land, and only nourishes small glaciers of its 
own ; and Disco Island is high land, possessing a miniature inland 
ice or rner de glace, with defluent glaciers of its own. If the great 
inland ice had ever ground over this tract, I hardly think it possible 
that the soft sandstone, shales, and coal-beds could have survived 
the effects of this ice-file for any length of time. 

5. Tlie Moraines. — Moraines are usually classified as lateral, 
median, terminal, and profonde,^ or under the glacier. From the 
simple character of the Greenlander glacier, as described, it will be 
readily seen that the median moraine, formed by the junction of 
two lateral moraines, must be rare, while the terminal takes, ex- 
cept in rare instances, another form. Ordinary Alpine glaciers, 
when grinding down between the two sides of a mountain-gorge, 
set accumulated on their sides rubbish, such as earth, rocks, &c., 
which faU either by being undermined by the glacier, by 
frost, or by land-slips, until two lateral moraines are formed. If 
the glacier anastomoses with a second, it is evident that two of the 
lateral moraines will unite in the common glacier into a median one. 
A\hen the glacier terminates, this moraine, carried along with it, 
is deposited at its base, and forms the terminal moiaine. Over the 

' Heer, in the ' Philosophical Transactions, 1869,' pp. 44.5-488. In this treatise 
of Prof. He>r I have 7)rlnted u few notes on the geology of those Miocene beds : 
but, owing to an accident, I did not see them in proof. Hence there are several 
errors. The title of the paper is also apt to misloiid. These geological and otlier 
points I have since corrected in a full account of the geology of the Waigat Straits, 
&c., with illustrative map ('Trans. Gool. Soc, Glasgow,' vol. v. part i. p. ."J.')). 

^ The term moraine prnfonde was first used by Hogard in his 'Coup d'coil sur 
le terrain erratiijue des Vo.sges' (18ol), p. 10. 


lower face of a glacier, according to the heat of the day, some ma- 
terial is always falling, a thimbleful of sand, it may be, trickling 
down in the stream of water ; or a mass of stone, gravel, and earth, 
may thunder over the edge. If the glacier advances, it pushes this 
moraine in front of it, or, it is possible, may creep over it and carry 
it on as a moraine profonde. This moraine profonde consists of the 
boulders, gravel, &c., which the glacier, grinding along, has carried 
with it, and which, adhering to its lower surface, help to grind 
down infrajacent rocks, and at the same time get grooved in a cor- 
responding direction. If the Greenland glacier does not reach the 
sea, then the programme of the Alpine glacier is repeated ; but 
when the lower end breaks on reaching the head of the fjord, then 
a different result ensues. The terminal moraine (if there is any ; 
for none comes over the inland ice, which leads me to believe that 
it does not rise in mountains ; and often the glacier is so short as 
to take little or none from the sides of its valley) floats off on the 
surface of the iceberg, and the moraine profonde either drops into 
the sea, or is carried further on in the base of the iceberg : very 
frequently this moraine profonde is composed of boulders and gravel, 
and it is rare that they are not dropped before the berg gets out of 
the fjord. The berg itself very often capsizes in the inlet, and de- 
posits what load it may have on its surface or bottom at the bottom 
of the sea ; and when it gets out of the inlet, as I have already 
described, it often ranges itself in the outside ice-stream ; and if it 
there capsizes, then the boulders lie on the bottom there, so that, 
if the floor of the sea were raised up, a long line of boulders would 
be found imbedded in a tenacious bed of laminated clay, with fossil 
shells and remains of other Arctic animals, skeletons of seals, heaps 
of gi'avel here and there, and so on, in what would then be a mossy 
valley, most likely the bed of some river. Again, allow me to re- 
mark that a berg may not capsize by pieces breaking off from above 
the water, but it may also lose its equilibrium (as is well known) 
by being worn away, as is most frequently the case, at the base, 
or (as is less known) by pieces calving off from below. If the berg 
ground on a bank or shoal, or in any other water not deep enough 
for its huge bulk to float in, it will often bring up from the bottom 
boulders, gravels, &c., deposited by former bergs, and carry them on 
until this material is deposited elsewhere ; when grounding, it will 
graze over the submerged boulders, or rocks just under water, 
grooving them in long grooves ; for an iceberg, it cannot be too often 
remembered, is merely a mountain of ice floating in the sea. In my 
earlier voyages in the Arctic regions I was rather inclined to under- 
rate the transporting-power of bergs, as I saw but few of them with 


any earth, rocks, or other land-matter on them. Though still believ- 
ing that this has been exaggerated to support their theories by some 
writers, ignorant, unless by hearsay, of the nature of ieebei-gs,^ I am 
inclined to think that I was in error. 

Towards the close of my voyage, in 1861, I had occasion to 
ascend to the summit of many bergs when the seamen were water- 
ing the vessels from the pools of water on their summits ; and I 
almost invariably found moraine, which had sunk by the melting 
of the ice into the hollows, deep down out of sight of the voyager 
sailing past, but which would have been immediately deposited 
if the berg had been capsized. In 1867 I saw many bergs with 
masses of rock on them, and only at the mouth of Waigat one with 
a block of trap (?) so large, that it looked, even at a di^-tance, like a 
good-sized house. The Greenland glaciers — or defluents of the inland, 
ice — carry little moraine. The termininal moraines are therefore 
little marked in comparison with what a glacier of the same size 
would deposit in the Alpine or other mountain regions abounding 
in glaciers. Indeed, the Swiss glaciers in almost no degree repre- 
sent, even on a small scale, the great Greenland glaciation. It is 

6. Life near tJie Ice-fjm-ds. — In the immediate vicinity of the 
Jacobshavn ice-fjord (and I take it as the type of the whole) ani- 
mals living on the bottom were rare, except on the immediate shore 
or in deep water ; for the bergs grazed the bottom in moderately 
deep water to such an extent as almost to destroy animal and 
vegetable life rooted to the bottom. In this vicinity bunches of 
algaj were floating about, uprooted by the grounding bergs ; and the 
dredge bionght up so little material for the zoologist's examination 
that, unless in deep water, his time was almost thrown away. 
Again, the heads of the inlets, unless very broad and open to the 
sea, are bare of marine life, the quantity of fresh water from the 
sub-glacial stream and the melting bergs being such as to make 
the neighbourhood (as in the Baltic) unfavourable for sea-animals. 
Some inlets are said to be so cold that fish leave them. I have not 
been able to confirm this in the Arctic regions. When stream- 
emptying lakes fall into the head of these fjords, having salmon in 
them, then seals ascend into the lakes in pursuit of them. Other 
localities, owing to the capricious distribution of life, would be barer 

« I have found, however, that much of the " discoloration " in berg8 is caused 
by the brown Icfives of the Cassiope fetragona and other jdants, growing among 
tlio rocks abutting on the glaciers, and l)luwn down upon tluiii. 'i'ho supposed 
intiuence of icebergs in dispersing plants by carrying their roots and seeds in 
moraine I have shown to be in reality very little.— ('Ocean Highways,' 1873.) 


or more abundantly inhabited. Again, in shallow inlets, except for 
Crustacea or other free-swimming animals, the bottom, continnally 
disturbed by the dropping of moraine or the ploughing up of bergs, 
would be unfavourable for life. Accordingly, if the bed of the 
Arctic Ocean in these places were raised, and we found the mouth 
of a valley with laminated beds of clay rich in Arctic shells, and 
the head bare of life, but still showing that the beds had been 
assorted by marine action, supposing we were (as in Scotland) 
ignorant, except by analogy, of the history of this, should we not 
feel justified in saying that the beds at the one place and the other 
were deposited under different conditions, and were in all likeli- 
hood of different ages ? How just that apparently logical inference 
would be I need scarcely ask. 

5. Action of Sea-Ice. 

"VVe have in the previous section in the most outline form sketched 
the subject of Greenland glacial action. As the object of this paper 
is not to form a summary of our knowledge on the subject, I have 
not entered into a discussion of any points on the physics of ice, 
further than was necessary to a right understanding of the subject 
in hand. Suffice it to say that all sea-ice forms originally from the 
" bay-ice " of the whaler, as the thin covering which first forms on 
the surfaces of the quieter waters is called, and that this " bay-ice " 
is almost entirely fresh, the effect of Arctic freezing temperature 
being to precipitate the salt. Hence, when we talk of the tempera- 
ture requisite to freeze salt water, it is merely equivalent to saying 
that this temperature is requisite for the precipitation of the saline 
constituents of the water. The water of the Arctic Sea is, accord- 
ing to Scoresby, of the specific gravity 1-0263.^ At this specific 
gravity it contains 5f oz. (avoird.) of salt to every gallon of 231 
cubic inches, and freezes at 28^° Fahr. The specific gravity of this 
ice is about 0*873. To enter upon this subject, of which the above 
is only the summary of a long series of experiments, is foreign to 
the object of this paper. From this bay-ice is formed the floe, 
from the floe the pack-ice, and other forms familar to Arctic navi- 
gators. In the summer the ice in Davis Strait on either side breaks 
up sooner than that in the middle of the Strait, which remains for 

' In au interesting series of experiments by Dr. Walker of the Fox Expedition, 
it was shown that the bay-ice was never entirely free from salt. If sea water is 
frozen its specific gravity is 1'005, showing salts, especially chloride of sodium or 
common salts. Fresh water is often frozen on the surface of the salt. — (' Journ. 
Roy. Dublin Soc, I860,' vol. ii. pp. 371-380.) 


a considerable time, forming the " middle ice " of the whalers. 
Still, however, a narrow belt remains attached to the shore during 
a considerable portion of the summer. This is called by the Danes 
in Greenland the " iis fod," and by the English navigators the 
" ice-foot." As the spring and summer-thaws proceed, land-slips 
occur, and earth, gravel, and avalanches of stones come thundering 
down on the ice-foot, there to remain until it breaks oil" from the 
coast, and floats out to sea with its raft-like load of land-debris. As 
the summer's long sunlight goes on, the ice, worn by the sea, parts 
with its load ; and this may be shortly after its leaving the lands 
or it may float tolerably far south. The ice-foot, however, rarely 
carries its load as far south as the mouth of Davis Strait ; and sea- 
ice is seldom seen far out of the Arctic regions, while, as we all 
know, bergs often float far out into the Atlantic. Often fields of ice 
will float along and, like icebergs, graze the surface of rocks only a 
wash at low tides ; and therefore its action might be mistaken for 
that of icebergs or land-ice. In other cases I have known the ice- 
foot, laden with debris, to be driven up by the wind and high-tides 
on to low-lying islands, spits, and shores, piling them with the 
load thus carried from distant localities, so that blocks of trap 
from the shores of Disco or the Waigat might be drifted up on the 
beach at Cumberland Sound or on the gneissose shores of South 

It has even been found that in shallowish water the ice will freeze 
to the bottom of the sea ; and in such situations the gravel, blocks, 
&c., there lying will freeze in and be carried out to sea, to be 
deposited in course of time in a manner similar to the superin- 
cumbent loads of the ice-foot, though more speedy. The same 
])henomenon holds good of the Baltic. In the Sound, the Great 
Belt, &c., the ground-ice often rises to the surface laden with sand, 
gravel, stones, and sea-weed. Sheets of ice, with included boulders, 
are driven up on the coasts during storms and " packed " to a 
height of 50 feet. How easily such sheets of ice, with included 
sand, gravel, or boulders, may furrow and streak rocks beneath 
may be imagined.^ The patches of gravel on the pack-ice are 
owing, I think, to portions of the giavcl-laden ice-foot having got 
among the ordinary materials of the pack ; for I do not think that 
ice formed in deep water, unless when it passes over rocks, and 
therefore may take up fragments of stone or earth, has any geo- 
logical significance. 

> Forchhammer in ' Bull, de la Soc. Ge'ol. de Fiance, 1817," t. iv. \>\>. llS'2-8:i; 
1, yell's Trincipleb ' (11th Kd.), vol. i., p. 3H3. 


The concbisions wliicli we are forced to draw from wliat I have 
said regarding the deposi ting-power of glacier-streams, "bergs, and 
sea-ice must be :— 1. That the bottom of Davis Strait must be com- 
posed of various materials ; 2. That particular m.aterials must pre- 
dominate in particular localities ; 3. That the bottom in the vicinity 
of ice-fjords and in fjords must be chiefly composed of clay, with 
boulders, gravel, and earth either scattered over it or in patches ; 
4. That the mouth and centre of Davis Strait and various banks, 
such as Eif kol, must be chiefly composed of earth, gravel, boulders, 
&c., with little or none of the glacier-clay ; 5. That life must not 
be uniformly distributed through this bottom; 6. That though 
the lines of travelled blocks, boulders rubbed by grounding bergs, 
ice, or by being brought out as part of the moraine profonde, will 
be found scattered over every portion of the sea, still they will 
chiefly be found in the lines of fjords and of the iceberg-stream ; 
6. That the clayey bottom of deep inlets will be little disturbed, 
while that of shallow ones will be grooved and torn up by ground- 
ing bergs, &c. 

EisE AND Fall of the Greenland Coast. 

It may be asked — Have we any data for the conclusions in the 
foregoing paragraphs, further than logical inferences from observed 
facts justify us in drawing ? Yes, we have ; for there has been a 
rise of the Greenland coast, laying bare the sea-bottom, as just now 
there is a fall going on. This fact is not new ; on the contrary, it 
is notorious, but has been much misunderstood. We have the 
Danes telling us on the most irrefragable evidence that the coast is 
falling, while the Americans who wintered high up in Smith Sound, 
saw there, and in all the country they visited to the north of 
Wolstenholme Sound, raised sea-beaches and terraces, and accord- 
ingly say that it is rising in that direction, while, in truth, both of 
them are right, but not in the exclusive sense they would have us 
to imagine. There has been a rise ; there is a fall going on. We 
now supply the proofs. 

1. Bise. — In Smith Sound both Kane's and Hayes's expeditions 
observed a number of raised terraces 110 feet above high tide-mark, 
the lowest being 32 feet. These were composed of small pebbles, 
&c. Hence they concluded that the coast icas rising. I think it 
can be easily enough shown that this is only a portion of the old 
rise of the Greenland coast. The interval between this locality and 
the Danish possessions, commencing at 73° N. lit., has been so little 
examined either by the geographer or the geologist that we can 


say nothing about it ; biit more to the south, and along the whole 
extent of tlae Danish colonies, this raised portion of the sea-bottom is 
seen. The hills are low and rounded, and everywhere scattered with 
perched blocks, boulders, &c., many of them brought from nprthern 
or southern localities. In other localities, in the hollows or along 
the sea-shore, we see several feet of the glacier-clay (the " brick- 
clay," in factj full of Arctic shells such as are now living in the 
sea, Echinodermata, Crustacea, &c., while in other places, as might 
be expected from what I have said, the clay is bare of life. This 
clay corresponds identically in many places with some of the 
"brick-clays" of Scotland, though, as might be expected from the 
difference these clays partake of from the different rocks the tri- 
tnrition of which has given origin to them, they are in some places 
of different shades of colouring. In this glacier-clay (or shall I 
call it upper laminated Boulder-clay ?) all the shells found are of 
species still living in the neighbouring sea, with the exception of 
Glycimeris siUqiia, and Panopcea norvegica ; but as both of these are 
found in the Newfoundland Sea, we may expect them yet to be 
shown to be living in Davis Strait.^ I have seen this " fossili- 
ferous clay " up to the height of more than 500 feet above the sea, 
on the banks overlooking glaciers. At the Illartlek glacier, in 
69*^ 27' N. lat., this glacier-clay, deposited on the bottom of the sea 
by some former glacier, now formed a moraine ; and on the surface 
of the ice I picked up several species of shells which had got washed 
out by the streams crossing over the glacier face. This Illartlek 
glacier does not reach the sea ; but supposing (as is doubtless the 
case elsewhere) that this clay had fallen on a glacier giving off ice- 
bergs, then the shells deposited in the old sea-bottom would be again 
carried out to sea, and a second time transferred to the bottom of 
Davis Strait ! I found this clay everywhere along the coast and in 
Leer Bay, south-west of Claushavn ; in knots of this clay are found 
impressions of the Angmaksaett {Mallotus arcticus, 0. Fabr.), a fish 
still quite abundant in Davis Strait.^ However, though this glacier- 
clay was found everywhere along the coast, yet it should be noticed 
that this was chiefly when glaciers had been in fjords, &c,, and that 
often for long distances it would be sparingly found only in valleys 
or depressions. 

Other evidences of the rise of the Greenland coast are furnished 

• Morch in Tillteg No. 7 til Rink's ' Grouland,' Bind 2, S. 14.3. 

* " In fjeneral, I may say," remarks Agashiz, wlien speaking of the closeness 
with which Tertiary fishes agreed with recent ones, "tiiat I luivc not yet found a 
single spe<-ies which was iierfectly identical with any marine existing fish, except 
the little species (Mallolm), wiiidi is found in nodules of clay, of unknown age, 
in Greeidand." 1 am convinced that the age I have given is correct. 



by ruins of liouses being found high above tbe water, in places 
where no Greenlander would ever tliink of building them now. 
On Hunde (Dog) Island, in the district of Egedesminde, there are 
said to be two such houses', and two little lakes with marine shells 
naturalised in them, and remains of fish-bones, &c., on the shores. 
I only heard this when it was too late, so that to my regret I 
had to leave the country without paying a visit to this remarkable 

2. Fall. — This has been long known ; but it is only within the 
last thirty years that special attention has been drawn to the sub- 
iect, chiefly by Dr. Pingel,' who passed some time in Greenland. 
The facts are tolerably well known, how houses are found jammed 
in by ice in places where they never would have been built by the 
natives, as Proven, and so on. It may, however, be as well to 
recapitulate these proofs. 

Between 1777 and 1779 Arctander noticed that in Igalliko Fjord 
(lat. 60'' 4:V N.) a small rocky island, " about a gun-shot from the 
shore," was entirely submerged at spring-tides ; yet on it were the 
walls of a house (dating from the period of the old Icelandic 
colonists) 52 feet in length, 30 in bieadth, 5 in thickness, and 
6 high. Fifty years later the whole of it was so submerged that 
only the ruins rose above the water. The settlement of Julianeshaab 
was founded in 1776 in the same fjord ; but the foundations of the 
old store-house, built on an island called " The Castle," are now dry 
only at very low water. Again, the remains of native houses are 
seen under water near the colony of Fredrikshaab (lat. 62° N). 
Near the great glacier which projects into the sea between Fred- 
rikshaab and Fiskernajsset, in 62' 32' N., there is a group of islands 
called Fulluarlalik, on the shores of which are the ruins of dwell- 
ings which are now overflowed by the tide. In 1758 the Moravian 
Unitas Fratrum founded the mission establishment of Lichtenfels, 
about 2 miles from Fiskernassset (lat. 63° 4') ; but in thirty or forty 
years they were obliged once, " perhaps twice," to remove the frames 
or posts on which they rested their large omiaTcs, or " women's " (seal- 
skin) " boats." The posts may j-et be seen beneath the water. 

To the north-east of Godthaab (lat. 64° 10' 36" N.,long. 51° 45' 5" 
w.^) on a point called Vildmansuees (Savage Point) by Hans Egede, 
in 1721-36, several Greenland families lived. These dwellings are 
now desolate, being overflowed at high tide. At Nappersoak, 

» ' Proc. Geol. Soc.,' vol. ii. p. 208. 

^ According to observations by the late Capt. v. Falbe, of the Royal Danish 
Navy, furnished to me by Capt. H. L. M. Holm, of the Hydrographic Depart- 
ment, Copenhagen. 


45 miles north of Sukkertoppen (lat. 65° 25' 23" n., lung. 52= 45' 25" 
\v.), the ruins of old Greenland houses are also to be seen at low 

In Disco Bay I had another curious instance brought under my 
attention by Hr. Xeilsen, at the date of my visit, Colonibe.styrer of 
Claushavn. The blubber-boiling house of that post was originally 
built on a little rocky islet, about one-eighth of a mile from the jshore, 
called by the Danes " Speck-HuseOe," andby the Eskimo " Krowe- 
lenwak," which just means the same thing, viz. " Blubber-house 
Island." For many years the island had been gradually sinking, 
until, in 18G7, the year of our visit, Hr. Xeilsen had been under the 
necessity of removing the house from it, as the island had been gra- 
dually subsiding until the floor of the house was flooded at high tide, 
though, it is needless to say, sufficiently far above high-water mark 
when originally built. On another island in its vicinity the whole 
of the Claushavn natives used to encamp in the summer, for the 
treble purpose of drying seals' flesh for winter use, of getting free 
from disturbance by the dogs, and of getting somewhat relieved 
from the plague of mosquitoes ; but now the island is so circum- 
scribed that the natives do not encamp there, the space above water 
not allowing of room for more than three or four skin tents. These 
facts are sufficient evidence that the coast of Greenland is falling 
at the present time ; and I doubt not that if there were observers 
stationed in Smith Sound for a sufficiently long time, it would be 
fuund that the coast is also falling there, though hitherto only Kane 
and Hayes have stayed there, but for too short a period to decide 
on the matter ; and I cannot see that there is the slightest reason 
why the fall should halt at Kingatok (n. lat. 73" 4o'), the most 
northern Danish post, and the most northerl}' abode of civilised 
man. Circumstances have only allowed of its being noted so far. 

Hr. Xeilson told me that he considered that Disco Island, opposite 
Claushavn, was rising, because the glaciers were on the increase. 
I think that if there is no more evidence than this for that sup- 
posed fact, we may lay it aside as erroneous, because the glaciers 
are undoubtedly increasing by the increase of the interior mer de 
glace on the island, and by the regular, descent which they are 
making to the sea. Disco Island is a miniature edition of Green- 
land ; it has its inland ice, its defluent glaciers, and its sub-glacial 
rivers, which sweep the denuded material from beneath the ice. 

I have made an attempt to estimate the rate of fall; and though 
we have no certain data, yet I believe that it does not exceed 
5 feet in a century, if so much ; so that none of us will live to see 
Greenland overspread b) the sea. Such at least are the views I 


have arrived at from a careful study of this question. Little doubt 
remains in my mind as to its correctness. The only serious reason 
for hesitating to ask the reader to accej)t this elucidation of the 
subject is, that it would appear that for some indefinite period 
there has been a gradual elevation of most of the circumpolar 
region going on. The facts in regard to this have been carefully 
collated by Mr. H. Howorth,' though it must be acknowledged 
with apparently a foregone conclusion, or at least a strong bias to 
the doctrine he has espoused, and to his memoir the reader can be 
safely recommended. One fact I may mention, which I am not 
aware has been noticed by Mr. Howorth. A few j^ears ago the 
Norwegian walrus hunter discovered a group of small islets north 
of Novai Semlai. They were merely sandy patches scattered with 
boulders dropped from icebergs which had at one time floated over 
them, raised but a few feet above the sea — 

" . . . . islands salt aud bare, 
The haunt of seals and ores and seamews' clang." 

On some of the islets — notably on Hellwald's and Brown's — were 
found West Indian fruits washed up by the Gulf Stream ; hence 
they were named " The Gulf Stream Islands." Yet only about 
two centuries ago the Dutch took soundings on the very spot where 
these islands have since been gradually raised above the sea. It is 
also said that the whale (Balcena mysticetus) has left the Spitzbergen 
Sea, owing to the waters having got too shallow for it, on account 
of the gradual rise of the bottom. On Franz Joseph's Land there 
are also raised beaches. The whole question is an important and 
interesting one for the naturalists of the present Arctic Expedition 
to attempt the solution of. Here I may point out what seems to be 
a fallacy in the reasoning of those authors who write about the 
denuding powers of rivers, and calculate that such and such a 
country will be overwhelmed by the sea in so many millions of 
3'ears. Whatever the land loses by denudation the sea gains ; and 
therefore the two forces keep pace with each other. We thus see 
in Greenland two appearances : (1) In the interior what Scotland 
once was ; (2) on the coast what Scotland now is. 

7. Application of the Facts regarding Arctic Ice-action as ex- 
planatory OF Glaciation and other Ice-remains in Britain. 

In the paper referred to,^ and in the geological portion of the 

' ' Journ. of the Eoy. Geog. Soc.,' vol. xliii. (1873), p. 240. 

^ ' Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc.,' vol. xxvii. p. 671 ; also ' Popular Science Review,' 
August, 1871, and April, 1875; and more popularly in Kiugsley's 'Town 
Geology,' pp. 48-52. 


Ro3al Society's ' Manual of the Natural History of Greenlaml,' as 
well as in tlie instructions by the distinguished head of the Geo- 
logical Survey of Great Britain — than whom there is no higher 
authority on the subject in Britain — will doubtless enter fully into 
the application of the foregoing facts as affording some explanation 
of the puzzling deposits of late geological age in Britain, and other 
portions of the northern hemisphere, and known as the " glacial 
beds " or remains. We are still far from understanding fully all the 
phenomena presented by these glacial remains. Still, as it is only 
by the study of a country like Greenland, which is in a condition 
similar to that which Scotland and a great portion of the northern 
hemisphere are believed to have been during the glacial period, it 
may be well, though this is not the place for geological details, 
to briefly recapitulate the general conclusions which I have arrived 
at from the study of Greenland ice : — 

(1.) The brick clays or laminated fossiliferous clays of Scotland, 
&c., are exactly the same as the clays now filling up the Greenland 
fjords from the mud-laden streams which flow from under the glaciers, 
and are due to the same or similar agents acting during the " Glacial 
period." These agents must have been acting at that period, and 
the clay formed from these sub-glacial streams has never yet been 
accounted for. 

(2.) The non-fossil iferous " till," though there are still appear- 
ances in this non-stratified deposit that we cannot account for, is in 
all likelihood the representation of the moraine profonde of the great 
ice-cap. Had it been moraine dropped from icebergs, as has been 
argued, even supposing that icebergs could deposit it so uniformly 
over great tracts and to such a thickness, it would have been 
fossiliferous and stratified. It is neither. (3.) Kaimes, Osars,* 
Escars, &c., are only the "banks" of the old glacial seas. Some 
may be of fresh-water origin, but most are marine. (4.) The angular 
" travelled blocks " (the " foundlings " of the Swiss mountaineers) 
have been dropped by icebergs floating over the submerged country. 
The rounded ice-borue boulders are part of the moraine ■profonde. 

The conclusions thus briefly summarised, with the deductions as 
to the foi-mer state of Scotland, will be found fully stated in the 
memoirs and works referred to. Lastly, the observer ought to 
guard against supposing that, in the old glacial seas or on tho 
glacial lands, life was poor.. If we are to judge the past by the 
present, wo have no right to suppose any such thing. 

The rarity of life in many of tho glacial beds need not be 

' A Swedish word so pronounced, but written Asar or Aamr. 


wondered at when we consider the capricious and even sporadic 
distribution of life in the fjords of Greenland. It is possible also, as 
Lyell suggests, that animal life was originally scarce ; for " we 
read of the waters being so chilled and freshened by the melting of 
icebergs in some Norwegian and Icelandic fjords that the fish are 
driven away and all the mollusca killed." ^ He also points out most 
justly that, as the moraines are at the first devoid of life, if trans- 
ported by icebergs to a distance, and deposited where the ice 
melts, they may continue as barren of every indication of life as 
they were where they originated. That the freshening of the water 
of fjords does destroy or prevent animal life developing, I have 
already shown ; but 1 doubt whether the chilling has much, if any, 
effect ; and the recent researches of Carpenter, Jeffreys, Thomson, 
and others, show that the idea which was suggested, that the sea 
might then be too deep for animal life, is without foundation ; for 
life seems, as far as oui- present knowledge goes, to have no zero ; 
besides, the shells found m the glacial formations are not deejj-sea 
shells. Again, we must be careful to avoid concluding that the 
plant- and animal-life on the dreary shores or mountain-tops of the 
old glacial Scotland was poor. In Greenland, the outskirting 
islands support a luxuriant phanerogamic vegetation of between 
300 and 400 species of plants;- the sea is full of fishes and inverte- 
brates, which shelter in forests of Algss. Plants even ascend to the 
height of 4000 feet. Millions of seals and whales, and of many 
species, sport in these waters, or are killed in thousands every 
spring on the pack-ice or land-floes. Every rock is swarming and 
noisy with the cries of water-fowl ; reindeer browse in countless 
herds in some of the valleys ; the Arctic fox barks its hue ! hue ! 
from the dreariest rocks in the depth of winter ; and the polar 
bear is on the range all the year round. Land-birds from southern 
regions come here for a nesting-place,^ and from the snowy valleys 
the Greenlanders will bring in the depth of winter sledge-loads of 
ptarmigan into the Danish posts. Life is so abundant that the 
Danish Government find it profitable to keep up trading-posts 
there, and the collecting and preserving of the skins, oil, and 
ivory of the native animals afford profitable employment to a con- 
siderable population. Independently of the fish eaten, the seals 

Lyell's ' Antiquity of Man,' p. 268. 

^ The present writer, in little moie than two months, amid many other occu- 
pations, collected on the shores and in the vicinity of Disco Bay alone, 129 species 
of flowering: plants and vascular cryptogams, more than 40 mosses, 11 Hepaticse, 
more than 100 Lichens, including many new species, about 50 Algse, and several 
Fungi (see 'Transactions of the Edinburgh Botanical Society,' vol. ix.). 

^ About 115 spe«ies of birds are found in Greenland. 


used as food and clothing, and the oil consumed in the country, 
it may not be irrelevant in this light to present the following 
list of a portion of the annual exports of the Danish settlements in 

9569 barrels of seal-oil. 
47,809 seal-skins. 

63-i6 reindeer-skins. There is on record the fact of 30,000 being 
exported in one year. 
171-t fox-skins. 

34r bear-skins (the animal being almost extinct in Danish Green- 

194 dog-skins (in addition to the numerous teams used by the 

3437 lbs. rough eider-down. 
5206 lbs. of feathers. 

439 lbs. of narwhal ivory (the natives also using up much for 
their implements). 

51 lbs. of walrus ivory (the walrus being little pursued). 
And 3596 lbs. of whalebone (very few of the Balmia mysticetus 
being killed). 

Add to this that, when the Danes came to Greenland first, there 
was a population not much less than 30,000 ; and to this day there 
lives within the Danish possessions a healthy, hearty race of up- 
wards of 10,000 civilised intelligent hunters of narwhal, seal, and 
reindeer, with schools and churches within sight of the eternal 
inland ice, and with a long night of fonr months, which, perhaps, 
Scotland had not during the glacial epoch. I do not believe, how- 
ever, that our shores were inhabited then ; but still I see no reason 
why they could not have been ; and, with the bright skies and warm 
sunshiny days of a Greenland summer fresh in my memory, I 
cannot bring myself to believe in the poetically gloomy pictures 
pseudo-scientific writers have delighted to draw of the leaden skies, 
the misty air, and unutterable dreariness of our Scottish shores in 
that incalculably distant period when glaciers ran through our 
valleys from the inland ice, and icebergs crashed in our romantic 
glens, then fjords of that glacial coast. 

' For this return I am indebted to my friend Dr. Rink, the most eminent autho- 
rity on all matters connected witii Greeidand. See also my monoKraplis oi 
(ireenland Mammals in the ' Proceedings of the Zoological Koci.^tyof London ' l..r 
18G8, and in ' I'etermann's Geographische Mittheiluiigen.' ISC'J. 


8. On the Formation of Fjords.* 

Intersecting the sea-coasts of various portions of the world, more 
particularly in northern latitudes, are deep, narrow inlets of the 
sea, surrounded generally by high precipitous cliifs, and varying 
in length from 2 or 3 miles to 100 or more, variously known as 
" inlets," " canals," " fjords," and even, on the western shores of 
Scotland, as "lochs." The nature of these inlets is everywhere 
identical, even though existing in widely-distant parts of the 
world, so much so as to suggest a common origin. On the extreme 
north-west coast of America the}^ intersect the sea-line of British 
Columbia to a depth, in some cases of upwards of 100 miles, the 
soundings in them showing a great depth of water, high precipitous 
walls on either side, and generally with a valley towards the head. 
On the eastern shore of the opposite Island of Vancouver no such 
inlets are found, but on the western coast of the same island they 
ai'e again found in perfection ; shewing that, in all probability, 
Vancouver Island was isolated from the mainland by some throe of 
Nature prior to the formation of the present " canals " on the 
British Columbia shore, but that the present inlets on the western 
shore of Vancouver Island formed, at a former period, the sea-board 
termination of the mainland, and were dug out under conditions 
identical with those which subsequently formed the fjords now 
intersecting the coast, 

Jervis Inlet may be taken as the type of nearly all of these inlets 
here, as well as in other portions of the world. It extends in a 
northerly direction for more than 40 miles, while its width rarely 
exceeds 1^ mile, and in some places is even less. It is hemmed in 
on all sides by mountains of the most rugged and stupendous 
character, rising from its almost perpendicular shores to a height of 
from 5000 and 6000 feet. The hardy pine, where no other tree can 
find soil to sustain life, holds but a feeble and uncertain tenure 
here ; and it is not uncommon to see whole mountain sides denuded 
by the blasts of winter or the still more certain destruction of the 
avalanche which accompanies the thaw of summer. Strikingly 
grand and magnificent, there is a solemnity in the silence and utter 
desolation which prevails here during the months of winter, not a 
native, not a living thing to disturb the solitude ; and though in 
the summer a few miserable Indians may occasionally be met with, 
and the reverberatino; echoes of a hundred cataracts disturb the 

' Abridged, witli additions and corrections, from tlie ' Journal of the Royal 
Geograiihical Society,' 1869 and 1871. 


i-ilence, yet the desolation remains, and seems inseparable from a 
scene Nature never intended as the abode of man. The depths 
below almost rival the heights of the mountain summit : bottom is 
rarely reached under 200 fathoms, even close to the shore.' The 
deep inlets on the Norwegian coast, known as fjords — a familiar 
name, now applied generally to such breaks in the coast-line — are 
two well known to require description. On the coast of Greenland 
are again found similar Sounds, indenting both sides of that group 
of islands (?), but more particularly the western or Davis Strait 
shore. Most of these inlets are thickly studded with floating ice- 
bergs, and others are so densely choked with them as to receive 
the name of ice-fjords. All of these fjords form the highways by 
which the icebergs float out from the glaciers at their heads, when- 
even these prolongations of the great mer de glace of Greenland (the 
" inland iis ") reach the sea. After a long and careful study of 
these fjords in most parts of the world where they are found, I 
have come to the conclusion that we must look upon glaciers as 
the material which hollowed them in such an uniform manner. 
Everywhere you see marks on the sides of the British Columbian 
fjords of ice-action ; ^ and there seems no reason to doubt but that 
they were at one time the beds of ancient glaciers, which, grinding 
their outward course to the sea, scooped out these inlets of this 
great and uniform depth. At the time when these inlets formed 
the beds of glaciers, the coast was higher than now. Wo know 
that the coast of Greenland is now falling ; and, supposing that 
the present rate of depression goes on, many glacier valleys will in 
course of time become ice-fjords. After having seen not a little of 
the abrading action of ice during three different visits to the Arctic 
regions, extending in circuit from the Spitzbeigen Sea to the upper 
reaches of Baffin Bay and westward and southward to the " Meta 
Incognita " of Frobisher, I cannot side with those geologists who, 
judging ice-action merely from what is seen of the comparatively 
puny glaciers of the Alps and other European langes, are inclined 
to under-estimate the abrading power of the glacier. 1 do not, 
however, for a moment pretend to assert that the valleys in 
which glaciers in the Arctic regions (or elsewhere) now lie were 
originally formed by the glacier. On the contrary, I am at one 
with those who believe that these rents were chiefly due to the 

' ' Vaueouvcr IhIuikI Pilot,' p. i::5!) f Admiral Richards). 

2 A fact which my iiiciid, Dr. Comric, it.N., wiiosc fiimiliarity witli the Britisli 
Coliiiiibiiui coast is well known, informs; mo that ho haw repeatedly confirmed, f 
;im aiiliiori.sed to .say that in his mind no doubt remainn that these fjords were 
formed in the manner I liave det-cribed. 


volcanic disturbances which threw up the mountain ranges, and 
that the glacier merely took advantage of the depression. How- 
ever, hy long abrasion it hollowed out the valley into the form we 
now see it in the fjords under description. At this present day, 
not far from the head of most of these inlets, glaciers are found in 
the Coast Eange and Cascade mountains in British Columbia; and 
along both ranges marks of old glacier action can be seen 2000 to 
3000 feet below their summits, and even near the sea-margin. 
Such a depression of the coast, with the presence of the lower 
temperature then prevailing, would fill these fjords with glaciers. 

Such is the thesis I ventured to put forth on the nature of these 
fjords or inlets. That it would be allowed to pass unchallenged 
was scarcely to be expected, when such a variety of views were 
held on the subject. As the object of these pages is not to pro- 
mulgate the author's own views, but to give an unbiassed statement 
of the doctrines held in regard to the subjects of them, I can 
perhaps best serve the purpose I had in view, by simply giving the 
reply to my various critics. By perusing this the reader can at 
once see the arguments pro and con. the subject, and form his 
own opinion as to which explanation most fully meets the difficulty, 
and from this stand-point endeavour to aid in the solution of the 

The doctrines broached have been favourably received on the 
Continent and in America, and by many of those in this country 
best able to judge regarding their reasonableness. My paper, how- 
ever, in so far as regards the theory of the formation of fjords, has 
been honoured by two special attacks having been directed against 
it. The first^ of these in time is by Mr. Joseph W. Ta}'ler, so long 
connected with the cryolite mines of Arksut Fjord, in Greenland ; 
the second ^ is by the late illustrious President of this Society. 
Though no words coming from Sir Eoderick Murchison on a subject 
of physical geology can fail to be received with the careful atten- 
tion and profound respect which his long and pre-eminent services 
to science entitle them to, and though well aware of Mr, Tayler's 
long residence in Greenland, yet, with every respect for both, I 
must humbly submit that they have not made good their case for 
the doctrine that glaciers have nothing whatever to do with the 
formation of fjords. On the contrary, after having studied the 
subject anew, and visited, since my paper was published, several of 
the regions where fjords abound, and which are cited in illustra- 
tion of my ideas in the paper mentioned, I am convinced — even 

^ ' Proceedings E. G. S.,' vol. xiv. p. 156; ' Journal,' vol. xl. p. 228. 
- Ibid. p. 827 ; ' Joiunal,' vol. xl. p. clxxiv. 


move than before — that the explanation I then gave, if not exactly 
the true one, is at least nearer the truth than the one opj)osed to it. 
It is \A'ith a view to recapitulate these arguments, and not with a 
view to bolster up a theory, "which must eventually stand or fall on 
its own merits, that I ask a place in the Society's transactions for 
these additional remarks. The question is not so much whether 
fjords were hollowed out by glaciers, but simply a renewal of the 
contest between the rival schools of " catastrophists," who believe 
that all the great physical features of the world have been caused 
by some cataclysm or cataclysms of Nature ; and of " uniformi- 
tarians," who teach that the uniform and long-continued action of 
the forces at present acting on the earth's surface would be suffi- 
cient to account for many features hitherto ascribed by their rivals 
to huge throes of Nature. The whole subject has been discussed 
over and over again, and all the main arguments which have been 
brouglit to bear against this particular application of the uniformi- 
tarian doctrines, have been advanced against some other application 
of it, in explanation of other physical features. Nor have the 
supporters of the contrary view been backward in replying ; and 
the whole matter stands in statu quo, or as the leanings of physical 
geologists bear to one side or other of the controversy. Foremost 
and chief of the school of catastrophists was our distinguished 
President, and our Transactions almost yearly bear witness to the 
skill, eloquence, and learning with which he has emploj'ed the 
weapons of his party against the adherents of the opposite view. 
- Originally, when he visited the Arctic Eegions for the first time 
ten years ago, a discijjle of Sir Eoderick in this country, and of 
von Buch in Germany, the present writer must confess that addi- 
tional observation and more extensive travel have led him to desert 
to the enemy. The paper mentioned is a result of his studies 
under the new banner, and these further remarks must be taken as 
his justification of the faith that is in him. The arguments brought 
against him bcith by Sir Eoderick and Mr, Tayler are so nearly 
identical, so far as they go, that he may be permitted to reply to 
them conjointly. Had, however, Mr. Tayler waited until the 
publication of my complete paper, he would have > spared himself 
and the Society some of his remarks, which his impatience for what 
seemed an easy victory has induced him to advance against the im- 
perfect statement of m}^ case in the fi'agmentary report published 
in the ' Pi'oceedings.' Unfortunattdy he commences his arguments 
by entirely misunderstanding my views. 

1. Glaciers and Fjords. — "When Mr. Tayler savs that he "takes 
it for granted " that by " liollowing " I mean causing Jjurds to bo 


where none were before, ho takes for granted what I never did 
o-rant. On the contrary, I have always shunned the extreme views 
of either geological school, which would assign the origin of all 
physical features alone to the causes of which they are the advocate. 
I believe, and consider that in my paper I made it clear, that as a 
glacier outpour in approaching the coast, or in falling from an 
elevation, always takes the line of least resistance ; so in former 
times it sought the valleys and depressions then existing in the 
coast-line of Greenland. It might even have taken the " gulches " 
and ravines which former volcanic force had formed. But at that 
time Greenland, Norway, and other fjord-indented countries did 
not present the aspect they do now. Fjords, as we understand 
them now, did not then exist. It was to the long-continued action 
of the glaciers moving over these valley-beds that the deep uniform 
inlets are due. Probably the sea assisted the glacier after the 
coast had fallen, but that the sea alone cut out these fjords no one 
who knows anything of the action of the waves on a coast-line can 
for a moment entertain. If the rocks along a coast were alternately 
soft and hard in parallel lines, then the sea by wearing away the 
soft and leaving the hard, might accomplish the feat of forming- 
fjords. But as no coast is formed on this plan, then it must follow 
that either the shore is equally worn away, according to the force 
of the waves, or cut here and there into bays, of the rocks out of it. 
At that time the present coast-line of these continents did not 
exist, and when Mr. Tayler attempts to disprove my theory by 
talking of the present fjords of Greenland as if they were of 
primeval origin, I fear that he does not clearly understand the 
doctrines held by all geologists, that the Greenland coast has been 
undergoing a continual oscillation. He mixes up, with a curious 
confusion of ideas, the fjords after they are formed and the causes 
which formed them. A moment's consideration would convince 
any one that the coast of Greenland at that time was entirely 
different from now, and that since these fjords have been formed it 
has undergone many changes of level. 

2. Grinding Power of Glaciers. — When Mr. Tayler and Sir Eoderick 
Murchison inform us that ice has no abrading power, and only slides 
over the rock, they will scarcely expect me to agree with them. 
This question is as yet suh judice, though I am inclined to believe 
that those who assert the grinding power of ice have made out a 
very clear case. I cannot understand how any one who has seen 
the rounded ice-planed hills of Greenland, and the immense mud- 
laden stream which flows out from under every large glacier, as the 
result of the grinding action of the ice, by means of its file-like 


moraine profonde, can believe that the glacier merely slides over tlie 
surface of the rock without causing any abrading action. Though 
I cannot allow that Mr. Tayler's long residence in the Arctic regions 
— principally, I presume, in the vicinity of Arksut Fjord — enables 
him to come so positively to the conclusion he does, which is only 
the old theoretical opinion of some geologists, derived from the 
comparatively puny glaciers of the Alps ; yet even there he must 
have seen the stream laden with clay, pouring from under every 
glacier, and choking up the neighbouring fjord, and shoaling even 
the open sea around. Where can this mud have come from, if not 
from the country underlying the glacier, and the great inland ice 
of the interior of Greenland ; and if from these — as undoubtedly it 
has — how can any one, with these well-known facts before his eyes, 
declare that the glacier has little or no abrading power ? Mr. Tayler, 
even when wishing to prove the contrary, states a fact which entirely 
cuts the ground from beneath his feet. " It is true," he says, " that 
boulders and debris, borne along by the ice, scratch, polish, and grind 
the rocks to a considerable extent ; but, though strong as a trans- 
porting agency, ice alone has but little excavating power ; it is like 
the soft wheel of the lapidary — the hard matter it carries with it 
does the polishing." Exactly so. It is to the geologist a matter of 
the most supreme indiiference whether it is the ice of the glacier 
itself, or the moraine 2^'>'ofonde, invariably accompanying it, which 
does the abrasion of the underlying rocks, so long as it is done. And 
that even Mr. Tayler, in contradiction of his own doctrine, seems to 
allow. Some opponents of the doctrine of ice-abrasion, who even 
allow less power to the glacier than Mr. Tayler, always lose sight of 
the long period during which the glacier must have been acting to 
form these long fjords or inlets of the sea as they now exist. This 
allowed — and there is no geologist who will doubt that though the 
glacial period is but of yesterday in geological time, viewed in the 
light of human chronology, it is so incalculably distant that it would 
be vain to attempt to calculate the date of that epoch, and even 
allowing that the glacier pouring down the Norwegian, British 
Columbian, or Greenland valley of that date, only removed every 
year by means of the sub-glacier stream, one inch of rock or other 
subcumbent stratum — it requires but a very moderate number of 
years to excavate the broadest and deepest fjord in the world. At 
that time the coast was higher than now, and it is the lowei ing of 
the coast, combined with the deepening of the valley, that has con- 
verted what was once a glacier-valley iiit(j a fjord or inlet of the sea. 
The great error of the catastiophists is, that their method of thought 
has led them unconsciously to expect the slow and nuil'orm action of 


the forces of nature — acting from the beginning until now under 
the contiol of one uniform unchanged and unchangeable law — to act 
as rapidly as their " cataclysms " and other prodigious " catastrophes 
of nature." Mr. Tayler is especially, I think, a little unreasonable 
in disowning the abrading power of ice, because, in the eighteen 
years or so during which he was a witness of its power, he did not 
see it " hollow out " a fjord, and complete it ready for use ! After 
all, the Eoman poet, who eighteen hundred years ago saw the rain- 
drops splashing on the pavement of Tomi, had a clearer idea of the 
effect of the slow, but constant, action of the forces of nature than 
some geologists in later times — " Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi, sed 
scepe cadendo.'' Therein lies the whole theory of ice and river action. 
When we see a smoothly-gliding river excavate canons thousands of 
feet in depth through the solid rock, surely it would be inconsistent 
to deny that an ice-river flowing over the same spot for thousands of 
years, may, assisted by a huge file, in the shape of the moraine 
profondc, which it carries along with it on its under-surface, and 
the sub-glacial river to carry off part of the debris thus worn, do 
something approaching to this? 

If the advocates of the non-abrading power of ice will not allow 
that glaciers can convert a valley in course of time into a deep glen, 
and that then, b}- the aid of an oscillation of the coast, the sea enters 
and the glacier floats away in icebergs, and its former bed now 
becomes the fjoid through which they sail, I cannot expect them to 
give in their adhesion to Professor Eamsay's views regarding the 
excavation of lake-basins by means of glaciers.^ On the contrary, 
this view of that distinguished geologist, while gaining many con- 
verts, has been violently attacked both in this country and on the 
Continent, yet, I venture to think, without being at all shaken in its 
main points. Already it has been extensively adopted; and only 
recently an eminent American naturalist — Piofessor Newberry, of 
New York — has applied it to account for the formation of the great 
American lakes.^ Yet Professor Eamsay's theory requires much 
more of ice than is required of it by mine. 

3. Filling up of Fjords. — When Mr. Tayler says that, "instead of 
glaciers excavating fjords, they are continually filling them up," he 
must not expect me to follow him ; for here, again, he loses the 
thread of his arguments with a confusion of ideas which renders it 

> ' Quarterly Journal, Geological Society,' tol. xviii. p. 185 (1862 . 

^ 'Annals of the New York Lyceum of Natural History' (1869). Prof. 
Nordenskjold, while agreeing that glaciers exercise an abrading influence, does 
not, however, coincide with Prof. Ramsay's theory of the formation of lake-ba»ins 
(Nordenskjold, I. c, p. 3G5). 


quite unnecessary to say more in refutation of what has nothino- 
whatever to do with the subject in hand. It does not at all follow 
that, because ancient glaciers hollowed out the present fjords, the 
sub-glacial stream flowing into them from modern glaciers may not 
shoal them up. But the moflern glacier, like the ancient one, whether 
ending in the head of a fjord (the bed of an ancient glacier) or at 
the open sea— as at the great " lisblink," 15 miles north of Frederiks- 
haab — is, I believe, unquestionably excavating out the valley in 
which it lies, to become hereafter, in some future period of Greenland 
history — either tlirough a change of climate or of coast-level — a deep 
valley or a deeper fjord. I know — as does any one at all acquainted 
with Greenland — that this great glacier, though it is not the only 
one, reaches the sea without entering a fjord, and findin"" the sea 
too shallow to buoy its seaward end up, and so break it oiT in the 
form of icebergs (as in the deep fjords), it pushes its way along the 
bottom for some distance, until getting into deeper water it will 
again, like the others, discharge its icebergs. This, again, is quite 
foreign to the subject of the formation of fjoids. There are modern 
glaciers. I spoke of ancient ones. Still even the great " lisblink " 
spoken of, though it happens — accidentally it may be said — not to 
enter a fjord, is, nevertheless, by the part of it which lies on land, 
grinding down the infia-jacent countiy and acting the part of the 
ancient glaciers which formed the present fjoids. In regard to this 
filling up of the fjords by the modern glaciers at their head, this is 
due to the mud brought down by the sub-glacial stream, and which 
is again due to the abrasion of the rocks by the incumbent glacier 
moving over them. In another memoir, ' On the Physics of Arctic 
Ice as explanatory of the Glacial Remains of Scotland,' I have entered 
into a full discus.sion of this and other points connected with Arctic 
glaciers, so that it would be needless to take up space here with any 
resume of my observations. In that memoir 1 have estimated that, 
at the veiy lowest calculation, this glacial mud is accumulating at 
the head of these fjords at the rate of not less than 25 feet thick in a 
century. Accordingly it has closed some old fjords with ice, the 
glacier at their head being no longer able to discharge its bergs, 
owing to the shallowness of the water, and in some cases, as pre- 
viously pointed out by Dr. Rink^ and Mr. 'i'ayler,^ the glaciers arc 
seeking new outlets, on the principle of ice seeking the plane of least 

' ' Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society,' vol. xxiv. (1871) pp. 671-701 ; 
and in a more coTidensed*form, reprinted at pp. 27-58 of this ' Manual,' and " Das 
Innere von Gronland," in Petermann's ' Geographische Mittheilungen,' October 

^ ' Gronland Geographisk og statistisk boskrevet,' &c. 

' ' Proceedings of the Koyal Geographical Society,' vol. v. p. 93 (18G1). 


resistance. Mr. Tayler asks triumphantly. Why does not the great 
glacier referred to cut its way through the sand and debris which lie 
at its base ? I answer, Give it time, and most assuredly it will do 
so. That is, however, not a question at all connected with the 
abrading power of the glacier. It is simply connected with the 
question of what mechanical force the glacier exerts in pushing 
forward. When the average rate of the downwaid and outward 
progress of a Greenland glacier is only about ^we inches per diem, we 
must not be in a great huriy to see the solution of the question 
Mr. Tayler has proposed. But, just as truly as a glacier moves, 
will this rubbish be shot into deeper water, and the end of the 
glacier, buoyed off by the deeper water, break off in the form of an 

4. The Walls of Fjords. — I am asked, Why were ;iot the soft sand- 
stone, coal, " black-lead," &c., of which the sides of many fjords 
are composed, ground away ? Eeally, it is unnecessary to give 
an answer. It answers itself. Some glaciers are rather broad, 
but still they have a limit, and so had these ancient glaciers, whose 
bed these fjords were ; and I suppose that though the " soft sand- 
stone, coal, black-lead," &c., which lay in the way, was worn away 
and floated seaward by the sub-glacial stream ; still, w^hen the glacier 
reached its limits, what did not come within the area of the action of 
ice would remain. I believe this does not require a very great ten- 
sion of the scientific imagination to conceive, and that even my 
opponent will acknowledge. Mr. Tayler in his, on the whole, short 
but admirably conscientious description of the Greenland fjords, 
mentions a ftict in support of my theory, viz., that on the 
rocks on either side of these fjords are ice-markings. I would 
like him to explain these. It ought, however, to be mentioned 
that, except where the walls of the fjord are composed of trap, 
gneiss, or some other hard rock, we must not expect to see 
many marks of the grooving of the ice which formerly rubbed 
against them. For the action of the weather, disintegrating 
the surface of the rocks, or tumbling down huge masses into 
the sea, frost riving the rocks asunder, as well as the masses 
which in former times must have fallen on the side of the glacier 
in the form of lateral moraine, must have all helped greatly 
to efface any ice-markings which might have been formed. Both, 
however, Mr. Tajler here, and Dr. Kae in some remarks he made 
at the meeting in support of my views, mention seeing these 
markings, as I have seen them, both on the sides of these Greenland 
and Arctic fjords, and in other parts of the world. Mr. Tayler 
has presented a geological puzzle for my consideration in the form 


of a Greenland fjord, and asked me to explain its formation on the 
theory I have advocated. I daresay it would admit of a very simple 
explanation, were we put in possesbion of all the facts in connection 
with it. But, as Mr. Taylor's description is so meagre, until I 
have seen it myself it would only be mere guess-work to attempt 
showing its mode of formation. I do not advocate that everything 
in the shape of an inlet of the sea was formed as I have mentioned. 
On the contiary, doubtless, many inlets now classed under the name 
of fjords were originally rifts and chasms in the country from 
almost primeval times. It would be damaging to any theory to 
claim for it the merit of explaining every fact of this nature ; 
and it is scarcely fair to adduce some supposed exception to the 
law enunciated, and thereby attempt to throw overboard all 
the numerous facts adduced which prove that in the vast pre- 
ponderance of typical cases it holds true. The glacier-bed theory 
of fjords is a general theory applied to, and applicable to, all parts 
of the world where fjords are found ; so that because seemingly 
some glen in Greenland, or elsewhere, looks like an exception, it 
must not be thrown aside. With, however, even less display of 
ingenuity than has been exerted on throwing it in the way of my 
theory, it could be accounted for, yet for the reason mentioned I 
will not attempt this, but leave it to the opponents of the theory to 
extract from it whatever comfort it is capable of affording them in 
the way of argument. 

5. Volcanic Theory of the Formation of Fjords. — "What expla- 
nation the opponents of this glacier-bed theory would adduce is, 
of course, not difficult to suppose. That fjords were formed by 
the great volcanic agencies which in former times dislocated 
the earth's crust is naturally their theory. Mr. Tayler has even 
invented an hypothesis so ingeniously mechanical that I hope 
he is not to be taken as a recognised exponent of the doctrines 
of his school ! " It appears," he remarks,^ " that at the time 
of the elevation of the west coast of Greenland, a chain of 
motmtains about 50 miles in breadth, running nearly north and 
south, was acted on in a wave-like manner, i.e. leaving depres- 
sions nearly equal to the elevations, and more or less at right 
angles with the direction of the chain. These depi'cssions, or 
long valleys into which the sea runs, constitute the fjords," 
and so on. I am afraid this theory is much too ingenious to 
]>Q accepted by those who know anything of fjords or of igneous 
action ; nor, I fear, is the general volcanic theory, though supi)ortcd 

' Op. ci(., vol. V. 1). W. 



by illustrious names, so well founded as to he unassailable. It is, 
to say the least of it, very remarkable, if fjords were owing to vol- 
canic action, that they are not, as we might expect, found in countries 
where there has been the most remarkable display of igneous 
agency, or in countries where volcanic agency is equally well marked 
with those countries in which fjords are found. On the contrary, 
fjords are only found in northei-n and southern latitudes, where 
glaciers either now form or could have formed, and nowhere 
else ; so that they must in some way be connected with climatal 
agencies. Again, these fjords are only in the line towards the 
sea, and always end at the shore, as if the agent which formed 
them had been like a glacier making its way to the sea. A 
volcanic rift is entirely different, and would never have shown 
such a steady, uniform system of openings in the earth's surface. 
If some great subterranean force had formed these openings in 
the earth's crust we might have expected to find them on flats, 
in mountains, in sandy tracts, in fact, anywhere — for a great 
subterranean force would have risen the crust of the earth without 
regard to locality. The fjords we always find surrounded by 
mountains. Much more could be said, but it would be a mere waste 
of time ; for it must already be evident that, whatever agency has 
formed these fjords, volcanic agency alone is not the one. I, with 
all deference to my distinguished opponents, still think that the 
glacier-bed theory is not untenable, in default of a better. 

6. Bamsay, Dana, Geikie, and Murphy, on Fjords. — -The views I have 
enunciated, both here and elsewhere, regarding the action of Arctic 
glaciers and glacier fjords, were first suggested to me when visiting 
both sides of Baffin Bay and Davis Strait as early as 1861. I after- 
wards thought a great deal on the subject, during some years of a 
lonely life, far away from scientific works or intercourse, while explor- 
ing the wild fjord-indented shores of British Columbia and Vancouver 
Island.^ Afterwards I saw enough in Greenland and Norway to 
convince me that my early ideas had the germ of truth in them, and 
that former writers, who attributed the formation of these to vol- 
canic rifts alone, were not on the right track. I have accordingly, 
in the course of the foregoing remarks, occasionally styled this 
" my theory," for, until recently, I was unaware that the idea 
had ever suggested itself to any one else. Though to me it is 
a matter of perfect indifference who was the author of it, so 
long as it is founded on truth, yet, in case it might be supposed 

^ See my " Das Innere der Vancouver Insel " (with map) iu Petermann's 
' Geographisclie Mittheilungen,' 1869, and 'Vancouver Island Explorations' 
(V. I. Colonial Blue-book, 1865). 


that I am adopting other men's ideas, I hasten to say I have 
recently learned that, without exactly explaining the formation of 
fjords as I have dune, both Professors Dana and Eamsay had some 
years previously hinted at a similar explanation ; and more recently. 
Dr. Archibald Geikie, Murchison Professor of Geology in the 
University of Edinburgh, and Director of the Geological Survey 
of Scotland, has suggested that possibly the " lochs " on the west 
coast of Scotland might be so accounted for. Though none of these 
gentlemen took exactly the same view as I have done, or gave it 
such a general application, yet I am glad to have the support of men 
so able as they. I may be, therefore, excused if I add them as 
supporters of the glacier-bed theory of fjords. 

Professor Eamsay ^ says : " Furthermore, as the glacialated sides 
and bottoms of the Norwegian fjords and of the salt-water lochs of 
Scotland seem to prove, each of these arms of the sea is only 
the prolongation of a valley down which a glacier flowed, and 
was itself filled with a glacier. ... In parts of Scotland, some 
of these lochs being deeper in places than the neighbouring sea, I 
incline to attribute this depth to the grinding power of the ice 
that of old flowed down the valleys, when, possibly, the land may 
have been higher than now." Professor Geikie gives utterance to 
very similar views.^ More recently still, Mr. J. Murphy, in a 
paper read to the Geological Society,^ some months after mine was 
read to the Eoyal Geographical Society, apparently in entire ig- 
norance of the writings of his predecessors, gives utterance to views 
even more decided regarding the part glaciers have played in the 
formation of fjords. His words are worth quoting: "Not many 
coasts in the world are cut up into fjords ; and nearly all that are 
so are western coasts in high latitudes. The fjord-formation is 
found in Korth-Western Europe, including Norway, the West of 
Scotland, and the A\est of Ireland ; in North America from Van- 
couver Island northward, and in South America from the Island of 
Chiloe southward. From Vancouver Island to Chiloe is an im- 
mense stretch of nearly straight coast-line ; but, at these limits, its 
character changes quite abruptly. The transition from straight to 
indented coast-lines coincides pretty equally with that from dry 
to moist climates ; and the change from the dry climate of Chili 
to the moist one of Western Patagonia is accompanied, as we might 
expect, by a depression of the snow-line on the Andes. It is now 
generally believed that the prevalence of lakes in high latitudes is, 

• Op. cit, vol. xviii. p. 203. 

2 ' Scenery of Scotland,' pp. 127, 183, &c. 

=■ • (iucirtcrly Joiirual of the (Jcological Society,' vol. xxv. p. 354. 


in some way, a result of glacial action : it can scarcely he doubted 
that this is equally true of fjords, and the coasts I have mentioned are 
those on which glacial action must necessarily he the most energetic ; 
hecause west coasts in high latitudes are exposed to west winds 
(Maury's ' countertrades'), which deposit on the mountains in snow 
the moisture they have taken up from the sea." 

7. NordensJcjold on Fjords. — There is no scientific man living better 
acquainted with the varied phenomena of Arctic ice-action and 
Physical Geography than Professor Nordenskjold, and these are 
his words, speaking of the Greenland shore :^ — " The deep fjords 
evidently scooped out by glaciers." 

I do not pit these authorities against the opponents of the glacier- 
bed theory of fjords; but only to show that, in supposing that 
glaciers and fjords have an intimate connection, I am not alone, as 
might be supposed from merely reading the arguments brought 
against my paper in this Society's ' Journal.' 

9. The Northern Termination of Greenland. 

What will be found to be the northern termination of Greenland 
is one of those geographical problems which, like the more trivial 
question of " What songs the Sirens sang," though a subject of legi- 
timate speculation, is yet at the same time a matter which can 
only be settled by an Expedition like the one now preparing. Dr. 
Petermann has hazarded the opinion that Greenland stretches aci-oss 
the Pole and joins Wrangel Land north of Behring Strait. Without 
being able to express any decided opinion jpro or con., this hypo- 
thesis of the illustrious German geographer, except that it is just 
as reasonable as any other — but not more so — and as ingenious as is 
everything which emanates from the mind of my excellent friend, I 
think that recent discoveries point to the northern termination being 
somewhat different. Most likely it will be found that Greenland 
will end in a broken series of islands forming a Polar archipelago. 
That the continent (?) is itself a series of such islands and islets — 
consolidated by means of the inland ice — I have already shown 
to be highly probable, if not absolutely certain, as Giesecke and 
Scoresby affirmed (p. 25). It is not likely that the northern portion 
will be widely different. 

The farthest view we have as yet had of it points to a group of 
broken islets. The open sea, or sea at least without any continuous 

' ' Kedogiirelse for en Expedition till Gronlanil, Ar 1870' (Oversigt af K. 
Vet.-Akad. Forh. 1870, No. 10), and tiaus. ' Geol. Magazine, 1872,' p. 30]. 


or extensive floes, would seem to show that there is no narrow strait 
which wonhl prevent the sea being cleared of ice in that direction. 
Farragut Point, and the other headlands which figure dimly on the 
map of the Polaris expedition, are probably capes of such islands. 
Nowhere in the Arctic Ocean have we found great unbroken 
stretches of laud, and Greenland will most probably prove no 
exception to the rule. That huge glaciers, like the Humbold 
glacier or those of Melville Bay, do not form the northern wall 
appear to me almost certain from the followirg facts : High up on 
the Greenland shore of Smith Sound we find the musk-ox {Ovihos 
moschatiis) ; but this large and essential Arctic mammal is perfectly 
unknown south of AVolstenholme Sound. The glaciers south of 
that point seem to have formed an impassable barrier to its further 
progress, for the little difference in climate could have but a small 
^flect on its range. In the winter season any portion of Greenland 
is sufiiciently cold for it, and Smith's Sound in the summer is not 
much colder than most of the other parts of the continent. There 
must be, therefore, some physical cause for its being confined to that 
portion of the Greenland coast. Now comes in another most remark- 
able fact. On Shannon Island and the vicinit}^ in 74° n.l. (several 
degrees southward of where it roams on the opposite coast), the 
German Expedition to East Greenland found the musk-ox in great 
abundance. Again, so far as we know, it is as perfectly unknown 
on the south-eastern Greenland shores as it is on the south-western. 
How did it come across, for across Greenland it must have come ? 
It is an American animal, and is nowhere found in Arctic Europe 
or Asia. It could not have travelled 700 or 800 miles across the 
inland ice, fur such a large animal, independently of other con- 
siderations, requires a large quantity of food, which it could not 
have obtained on that icy waste. It must necessarily have passed 
over on dry land, where willows or other dwarf Arctic plants, on 
which it subsists, could be found. It might easily travel short 
distances on the frozen ice from island to island, and thus double 
the northern termination of Greenland, and stretch down the east 
coast for some distance, until again it met with an impassable 
barrier to its southern progress. 

Take one further zoological illustration — and these illustrations, 
though seemingly trivial in themselves, are yet of extreme zoo- 
geographical interest — as tending to show that the Greenland land 
must end not far north of latitude 82" or 83°. In 1 822, Scoresby 
discov(,'red a lemming near Scoresby's Sound on tlio cast coast, 
wliich was named Mas Grecnlandicus. it is now known tc» l)o a 
climatic variety of the Euio[ican species, viz., Mijodes lorqnaius. 


Suoresby's specimen remained for long unique in the Edinburgh 
Museum, until in 1869 and 1870 the German Expedition found 
it in abundance on the same coast. This fact was interesting 
in itself, for it is unknown in the region, so far as has been ex- 
plored further to the south, and in all parts of the west coast of 
Greenland explored up to the date of the Polaris Expedition. How- 
ever, that Expedition found it not at all uncommon on the shores of 
the most northern reaches of Smith Sound (or the continuation 
of the gulf which goes under that name). The variety appears the 
same as on the east coast, but different from the lemming of the 
western shores of Davis Strait and Baffin Bay, which is Myodes 
hudsonius. Again the question suggests itself, how has this animal 
found its way across Greenland to the east coast, or vice versa ? That 
its route has not been across the inland ice we may consider certain ; 
we may be sure, it has been where food and footing could be found. 
In its migrations it will most likely be found to have been a com- 
panion of the musk-ox. The European ermine (Mustela erminea, L.) 
was also found by the German Expedition on the north-eastern 
coast, but is quite unknown on the west. If it should be found 
in Smith Sound also, the fact would form another remarkable zoo- 
geographical problem for the English Polar Expedition to solve. 

Lastly, it is, I venture to suggest, probable, or at least not im- 
probable, that the aborigines, who to a small number now, but at 
one time in greater numbers, inhabited the east coast of Greenland 
did not stretch up from Cape Farewell as colonists from the west 
coast, but doubled the northern end of the country from the Smith 
Sound region. Like the Smith Sound people, the east coast 
Eskimo seem to want the kayak ; and it would be an interesting 
point to compare the iuiplements, &c., of the remnant of '' Arctic 
Highlanders" now living in Smith Sound, with the Eskimo of 
the south-eastern coast, and with the remains which the German 
Expedition discovered in the graves, which are now the only repre- 
sentatives of the fur-clad hunters and fishers who once inhabited 
that part of the coast explored by these intrepid voyagers. 

If it should be found that the Greenland coast trends on the 
east towards the west and on the west towards the east, as there is 
some ground for believing, it is just possible that the English 
Arctic Expedition might be able to double the northern extremity 
of the continent, more especially if a sea comparatively free of 
fixed ice (I will not venture to say " an oj)en Polar sea ") be found 
to lave its northern shores. Once on the eastern shores of Green- 
land, the observations of Captain David Gray, a Peterhead whaler, 
who last summer penetrated through the Spitzbergen ice-stream, 


and fuund open water to the north,^ would seem to point out that 
the course of the expedition would then be clear. Such a feat in 
geographical importance and naval enterprise would be only second 
to the doubling of the northern termination of America — in other 
words, to the discovery of the north-west passage as achieved by 

10. Debateable Points rkgarding the Physical Structure of 

Attention need scarcely be called to the fundamental point of 
all, viz., the improvement of our knowledge of the geography of the 
coast-line ; to that, no doubt, the main etibrts of the Expedition 
will be devoted. We know, as has been shown, comparatively 
little of the interior, and even the few expeditions which have 
attempted to penetrate eastward have only reached a few miles 
from the coast. Are there any mountains in the interior ? — a ques- 
tion which I have ventured, reasoning from the facts before us, to 
answer in the negative : but Dr. Kink, incomparably the greatest 
of all authorities on Greenland, is (p. 58) by no means so positive 
on this question ; perhaps he is right. What is the nature of the 
soil under the ice ? Is it of the same character as the boulder-clay 
of Britain ? The many points which ought to be investigated under 
these heads will appear in the geological instructions or will be 
evident to the reader after perusing the section on the " Green- 
land Glaciers and Ice." 

Has the ice an abrading power ? This is almost perfectly cer- 
tain ; yet some observers — and still more some theorists — have 
attempted to deny this. Make every examination of the raised 
beaches on the shores of Smith Sound, and try, if possible, to test 
the question whether tlie shores of Smith Sound are actually rising, 
or are falling like the southern coast. On this point Mr. James 
Geikie, of the Geological Survey of Scotland — a most competent 
authority on all questions touching glacial deposits — suggests to me 
that " it would be very interesting to have determined whether the 
raised beaches of Greenland give any indication of changes of climate, 
such as having been observed in these deposits in Spitzbergen. 
Great banks of Mytilus edulis, Cyprina islandica, and Litturina littorea, 
occur in that island, and now are even found living in the Spitz- 
bergen sea. It is true that Mytilus is occasionally seen attached to 
algas in these regions, but such rare birds are but poor representa- 

Petermanu's ' Geographische Mittheilungen,' March 1875. 


tives of the banks of the same shell which are met with in the 
same island. Mr. Nathorst, of the Swedish Geological Survey, 
tells me that in 1870 he examined these shell-banks, and found 
one made up of Mytilus resting upon a scratched rock surface (now 
far removed from any glacier), and the scratches ran parallel with 
the fjord. The Mytilus still lives in Greenland, as does also Cyprina 
islandica, but Littorina Uttorea does not. Heer notices these circum- 
stances in his paper ' Die Miocens Flora und Fauna Spitzbergens.' ^ 
It would be worth while, I think, for the naturalists attached to the 
Arctic Expedition to examine any raised beaches they may come 
across, with a view to discover whether the facts bear on the con- 
clusions drawn by Swedish geologists, for it is difficult to believe 
that a considerable change of climate could take place in Spitz- 
bergen without also leaving traces in North Greenland." All 
these questions are of deep philosophical interest, and to their 
solution the members of this Expedition are invited to apply them- 
selves. We have shown, and the other portions of this manual only 
confirm the remark, that in Greenland there is still much for the 
geographer to do, and that when an ancient mariner wrote, 200 
years ago, that " Greenland is a country very farre IVorthward, 
. . . the land wonderfull mountainous, the mountaines all the year 
long full of yce and snow, the plaines in part bare in summer-time 
. . . where growes neither tree nor hearbe . . . except scurvy-grass 
and sorrell . . . the sea ... as barren as the land, affording no 
fish but whales, sea-horses, seals, and another small fish . . . and 
thither there is a yearely fleet of English sent," ^ he only wrote in 
accordance with the knowledge of his time — and time has not 
confirmed honest Edward Pellham's dictum. 

' ' Ofversigt af Kongl. Svenska Vet. Akad. Forhand.' Band. 8, N'. 7, p. 23. 

- In reality, though after the fashion of his time styling it " Greenland," the 
devout old mariner — first of that long line of English seamen who have had the 
courage to winter in Spitzbergen, and the good fortune to come back to tell 
the tale — was describing Spitzbergen ; but the quotation is sufficiently apropos to 
remain without any very strict geographical criticism. 

( 75 ) 



By Admiral Baron von Wrangkl.* 

The vast accumulation of ice — which covers the nortliern seas in 
immense fields, high hills, and small islands — subjects the navi- 
gator in these waters to incessant danger and anxiety : to struggle 
with the elements, to overcome obstacles, to be familiarised with 
dangers — all this is so habitual to the seaman, that he is some- 
times even dull without it. The continual, uniform, and quiet 
navigation in the regions of the trade-winds excites in the sailor a 
desire for change : he encounters a squall with joy, welcomes even 
a storm in the seas beyond the tropics not without a certain 
pleasure ; and, confident in his skill, in the activity and indefati- 
gable energy and experience of his crew, in the strength of his 
vessel and soundness of all her parts, he does not fear the terrible 
powers which so often put to the trial all his patience and all his 
coolness. Such being the ordinary feeling of the seamen, it is not 
astonishing that the Frozen Ocean has long attracted the naviga- 
tors of all nations, but in particular those of England — that country 
which has an indisputable right to be regarded as the first of all 
maritime nations. Without taking into consideration the great 
number of whalers, who have carried on their trade among the 
mountains of ice in the most remote latitudes of the Atlantic, 
England has sent out fifty-eight distinct expeditions to discover a 
shorter passage to the Pacific, either by the north-west or north- 
east channel, from the time of John Cabot (1497) to George Back 
(183b) : not one of these has been crowned with complete success. 

In all those enterprises, however, one common aim, not specified 
in the instructions, has ever been kept in view ; and this aim 
has been more or less attained by every successive attempt — the 
maintenance of the spirit of enterprise and the support of a laud- 

' From the 'Journal of Iho Royal Geographical Society,' vol. xviii. 


able national pride, in the attainment of the laurels of disinterested 
exploits, for the advantage of science, trade, and navigation — the 
true sources of power and glory to every maritime people. 

When, after nearly three centuries and a half, scientific men, 
and even navigatois, were persuaded of the improbability of the 
existence of a north-west or north-east passage to the Pacific, 
practicable for trade, the evident aim for new enterprises was 
transferred to the invisible point of the earth — the North Pole. 
The expedition of Captain Buchan, and the fourth voyage of the 
ill defagi table Parry, were undertaken expressly with that view. 

This question, supported by the celebrated Barrow, has been 
again moved in England, and has resulted in the exchange of 
opinions on this subject between navigators and scientific men. 

Captain Sir William Edward Parry, in a letter, dated the 2oth 
of November, 1845, to Sir John Barrow, proposes in a short out- 
line a new plan for the expedition. Following the principles 
there traced, a party would not, he thinks, meet with any of the 
difficulties encountered by Parry himself in the latitude of 
82° 45' N., or about 2° to the N. of the extreme point of Spitz- 
bergen, which was the starting-point of the Polar Expedition. 
Having unequivocally assigned as the chief causes of failure in 
those attempts — to which, however, no others can be compared 
with respect to the difficulties overcome — 1st., the broken, uneven, 
and spongy state of the ice, covered with snow ; and 2ndly., the 
drift of the whole mass of ice in a southerly direction — Captain 
Parry proposes, in order to avoid these unfavourable circumstances, 
that the ship employed in the projected expedition should winter 
at the northern point of Spitzbergen, and the party particularly 
designed for the attainment of the Pole should leave the vessel in 
April. About 100 miles north of this point there should be pre- 
viously prepared a store of provisions, so that the party, at the 
commencement of its journey, should not be too heavily laden ; 
and about the time of its return, according to the reckoning of 
Pany, in the course of May, there should be sent out another 
detachment with provisions to meet it about 100 miles further 
from the place where the ship is wintered. Captain Parry founds 
his hopes of success on the supposition that, in April and May, 
the party would proceed about 30 miles a-day along the ice, which 
would then offer an immovable, solid, and unbroken surface. He 
also thinks it advisable to provide the expedition with reindeer. 

Finding it difficult to make these ideas of Captain Parry accord 
with those which I entertain respecting the state of the ice and 
the circumstances indispensable to success in travelling along its 


surface, I beg leave to express my doubts, and submit my ideas on 
this subject. 

Expeditions were undertaken in the j'ears 1821, 1822, and 1823, 
in the Siberian Frozen Sea, from two points of departure, distant 
one from the other, in the diiection of the parallel, more than 
1000 miles, viz., from the mouths of the rivers Lena and Kolyma. 
These expeditions occupied an interval from about the end of 
February to the beginning of May (O.S.), and the state of the 
ice does not at all seem to have been such as Captain Parry sup- 
poses it to be, to the north of Spitzbergeu, in the course of April 
and May (X.S.). 

Lieutenant (now Eear- Admiral) Anjou was stopped by thin and 
broken ice moving in diiferent directions, in 

1521. April 5 (O.S.) at the distance of 20 Italian miles") 

from the nearest shore IN. of the Island 

1822. March 22. 22 Italian miles J Kotelnoy. 

„ April 14. 60 „ E. of New Siberia. 

{N. of the islands at 
the months of 
the Lena. 
The expedition commanded by the author, which took its de- 
parture from the mouth of the Kolyma, encountered the same 
impediments : — 

In 1821. April 3, at 120 Italian miles ] 

„ 1822. „ 12, at IGO „ l^'- ^^ ^^^ nearest 

„ 1823. March 23, at 90 „ J ^^°^^- 

But on the 27th of March the masses of ice, which were separated 
from each other by large channels of open water, were driven about 
by the wind and threatened the voyagers with destruction. 

My hypothesis is founded on the above facts, collected during a 
three years' navigation in a sea whose depth is not more than 
22 fathoms, and which is, so to say, landlocked to the south by the 
Siberian coast, and there defended from the winds and waves over 
a space of 180" of the compass; whereas the sea on the meridian 
of Spitzbergen has a considerable depth, and is exposed to the 
swell of the whole Atlantic. Therefore I cannot concur in Captain 
Parry's hopes that the ice can be in a state favourable to the 
execution of a journey towards the north in April and May. 

Captain Parry's calculations as to the possibility of advancino- 
30 miles a-day seem to imply the employment of reindeer, and 
would render it necessary to provide the expedition with those 
animals : we must, therefore, conclude that that officer expects to 
obtain the necessary rapidity by the assistance of reindeer. If 1 


am warianted in this supposition, I must remark that reindeer 
are far from being capable of advancing over the uneven surface of 
the ice, and are besides too weak to carry heavy burdens. 

Sir John Barrow, in his work ' Voyages of Disco veiy and Ee- 
search within the Arctic Eegions,' &c., publishes the above-men- 
tioned letter of Captain Parry, disapproving, however, his proposed 
plan, and anticipates greater success in the enterprise by accom- 
plishing it in small sailing-vessels, fitted with the Archimedian 
screw (like the ships Erehus and Terror), and steering noithward 
on the meridian of Spitzbergen : in other words — Barrow proposes 
the repetition of the former attempts, notwithstanding their failure, 
expecting success from more favourable circumstances. But here 
a question is naturally suggested — may there not exist means of 
reaching the Pole other than those which have been hitherto 
resorted to — means not liable to the various inconveniences already 
encountered during the several expeditions undertaken from the 
coasts of Siberia towards the north upon the surface of the ice, and 
which must be encountered in proceeding on foot, as Captain Parry 
proposes ? 

The last Siberian expeditions were executed in a particular kind 
of sledges, called " Narty," drawn by dogs. The expedition, un- 
dertaken from the mouth of the Kolyma, travelled in this manner 
in 1823 (from the 26th February to the 10th May) 1533 miles, 
of which the greater part was along the shore towards the island of 
Koluchin, seen by Captain Cook during his navigation in a north- 
west direction from Behring's Straits. We proceeded upon the 
ice along the shore very successfully, but as soon as we left it the 
difficulties and impediments increased. If the coast of Siberia 
had a direction parallel to the meridian, the Kolyma expedition 
would have travelled 11° of latitude in one direction and the same 
in returning ; therefore, if the point of departure had been the 79° 
of north latitude, the expedition might have reached the Pole and 
returned to its starting-point. 

The utmost limits of the coast of Greenland towards the north 
remain yet unknown ; but the meridian direction of its mountains 
and coasts allows us to suppose that, in proceeding along them, it 
is possible to approach the Pole nearer than from any other 
direction or even to reach that point. 

The northernmost point of Greenland, Smith's Sound, seen by 
Captain Ross, is in latitude 77° 56' N. ; and in latitude 76° 29', 
and on the island Wolstenholme, there is a village of Esquimaux. 
Taking all this into consideration, my opinion may be expressed 
in the following plan ; — The ship of the expedition should winter 


near the Esquimaux village, xinder the 77th parallel, on the western 
coast of Greenland. There should be previously despatched to 
this point, in a separate party, at least ten narty, with dogs, and 
active and courageous drivers ; the latter the same, if possible, as 
were employed in the Siberian expeditions,' likewise stores and 
provisions in sufficient quantity. In autumn, as soon as the water 
freezes, the expedition should go to Smith's Sound, and from thence 
further towards the north. On arriving at 79^, it should seek on 
the coasts of Greenland, or in the valleys between the mountains, 
for a convenient place to deposit a part of the provisions. 

In February the expedition might advance towards that place ; 
and in the beginning of March another station, two degrees further 
north, might be established. From this last point the Polar detach- 
ment of the expedition would proceed during ]\Iarch over the ice, 
wdthout leaving the coasts, keeping along the valleys, or on the 
ridge of mountains, as may be found most expedient, but deviating 
as little as possible from the line of the meridian, and shortening 
the distance by crossing the straits and bays. A part of the men, 
dogs, and provisions, should await their return at the last station. 

The expedition, to reach the Pole and to return, must traverse 
in a direct line nearly 1200 miles, or, including all deviations, 
perhaps not above 1530 miles, which is very practicable, with well- 
constructed sledges, good dogs, and proper conductors. 

If the most northern limits of Greenland, or the Archipelago of 
Greenland Islands, should be found at too great a distance from 
the Pole, and the attainment of that point seem impossible, the 
expedition might at any rate draw up the description of a country 
hitherto absolutely unexplored, and would, even by so being, render 
an important service to geography in general. 

' The success of such an enterprise would chiefly depend on the kind of dogs, 
the experience and courage of the conductors, and tlie form of the sledges. It 
certaiidy will not advance rapidly if Esquimaux or Tchouktsclii dogs are em])loyod, 
because these are (>ntirely unaccustomed to sucli long journeys ; nor with Esqui- 
maux or Tchouktschi drivers, — men without courage or activity. 

( 80 ) 




By Dr. Eink, Director of The Eoyal Greenland Board of Trade, and 
formerly Inspector in Greenland for the Danish Government.^ 

The author of the work above quoted makes the following remark 
in the Introduction : " This book is not a record of scientific inves- 
tigations ;" and adds, that his aim has been to publish a narrative 
of the adventures of his fellow travellers, and that he has attempted 
very little else. Nevertheless, on perusing this promised " simple 
story " of a voyage, we find it embellished with scientific theories 
extending far beyond the bounds of such a narrative. As these 
speculations relate to a subject, the examination of which has 
occupied me during nine years, namely, the Physical Geography 
of Greenland, I feel called on to subject them to a somewhat closer 
inquiry. As his richly and elegantly illustrated work has awakened 
great sensation, nay even partly placed the other Polar expeditions 
in the shade, I am led to think that a communication of my views 
respecting this matter will not be entirely without interest to the 

It is well known that the active and undaunted American tra- 
veller. Dr. Kane, unfortunately so early carried off, attempted, in 
the year 1853, to go farther north up Smith Sound than Captain 
Inglefield, the year previously, had done ; but that he only suc- 
ceeded in taking his ship a trifling distance farther than Ingle- 
field; that he was then frozen in, lost his ship, and in the year 
1855 saved himself and party by returning, in boats, to the Danish 
colony of Upernivik. From his two years' winter quarters in Van 
Eenssellaer Bay, on the east side of the Sound, he, by the help of 
dog and drag sledges, undertook expeditions in different directions, 
partly across to the American side, but mainly along the coast, 
pursuing it northward, to find, if possible, the northern end of 

* From the ' Journal of the Eoyal Geographical Society,' Vol. xxviii. 


What was discovered on these tours iniist be regarded as the 
real profit of the expedition, and I will here confine myself to the 
two points which have cast the chief lustre over it. First, that 
which concerns the unknown interior of Greenland, the glaciers 
and floating icebergs that issue thence, about which the author 
expresses himself on occasion of having discovered a glacier on the 
coast of Greenland, between 79° and 80" n. lat., to which he has 
given the name of Humboldt. Secondly, a sledge expedition under- 
taken by Morton (one of the ship's crew who it seems was steward), 
in conjunction with Hans, a Greenlander from Fiskerna3sset ; whereby 
they are said to have come to the margin of an open sea, which is 
presumed to occupy the whole region around the North Pole, and to 
be kept open by a branch of the Gulf-stream ; and, besides this, 
to have discovered the most northern lands on our globe, which, 
according to their description, are likewise laid down on the chart 
and called " Victoria and Albert," " Washington," &c., Lands. 

As regards the fii'st of these points, I must repeat what I have 
explained in my work on North Greenland,* namely, how the 
whole of the inner mainland, regarded from the outer land, appears 
buried under one uniform covering of ice, which sends its branches 
down into all deep fjords ; how these branches are pushed down 
into the sea, and yield annually large masses of ice in the form of 
floating icebergs or calves. The glacier discovered by Kane, which 
he has named " the great glacier of Humboldt," and which has called 
forth much admiration, even in well-known geographical journals, 
has been represented as the crowning point of the discoveries made 
by the expedition, but which is really nothing more than what 
can be observed in the interior of most of the Greenland fjords, 
from the southernmost to the most northern reached point. 

The reason why Kane has not had an opportunity to observe 
these, and that the one discovered by his expedition has therefore 
appeared to him so remarkable, lies in the simple fact, that such 
ice formations in general lie hid behind the numerous high islands 
and peninsulas, which almost form the outer coast of Greenland 
towards Davis Strait, and which, with regard to snow and ice, 
do not show any other phenomena than the higher parts of the 
mountain chains of Europe. 

Now as the different discovery-ships, that have sailed in search 
of the North- West Passage and of Franklin, have always rapidly 
hurried through Davis Strait, and have only touched at one or 
other of the Danish colonies, it is no wonder that the numerous 

'De Danske Handelsdistrikter i Nordgionland.' 


remarkable ice-fjords, -which require a longer time to travel through 
and examine, have more or less escaped attention. Kane had thus 
either not seen these ice formations, or only had an occasion of 
seeing them from a great distance, before he came to the place 
where he was frozen in and had to pass two winters. Humboldt 
glacier does not even seem to belong to the most remarkable among 
them, as even in the very southernmost of our Greenland districts, 
at Julianehaab, we have opportunities of observing just as remark- 
able phenomena of this kind. 

With respect to the second point— namely, the Open Polar Sea, 
discovered by Morton the steward and the Greenlander Hans — 
the manner in which Morton's journey is described by Petersen,' 
the Dane, who accompanied the expedition as interpreter, seems 
to give a clearer picture of its result than that which Kane has 

This discovery of an Open Sea gives Kane occasion to make a 
comparison with other Polar expeditions, and he goes as far back 
as the days of Barentz in 1596, and "without referring to the 
earlier and more uncertain chronicles," he mentions the Dutch 
whale fishers. Dr. Scoresby, Baron Wrangel, Captains Penny and 
Inglefield, and shows how they have all spoken about large open- 
ings in the ice around the North Pole. He shows likewise how 
these have all been found to be " illusory discoveries," and antici- 
pates the objection that " his own may one day pass within the 
same category " by extolling the far larger scale on which Ms Open 
Sea has been observed. Petersen confines his remarks on this 
subject to the following : — 

" The Greenlander, Hans, was sent after them with the dog-sledge in order to 
continue the journey still farther towards the N., and when he reached their 
sledo-e (i. e. a drag-sledge that had been sent out earlier), he and the steward 
Morton proceeded onwards. They reached the Sound of which the Esquimaux 
had spoken. This Sound was open ; probably cut up by the strong current 
they had observed there. It was, however, Midsummer, so that the sun had 
perhaps aided the current in getting away the ice. After this expedition no 
other such was attempted." ^ 

It is a known fact that, here and there under the coast of Nortli 
Greenland, places are found which, on account of the strong 

' See vol. i. pp. 280-310. Petersen is a man well known to me. He was ap- 
pointed foreman in the trading service at Upernivik. His communications bear 
the full impression of truth, and are written in a clear and simple style, without 
boasting and self-praise, although he has been of great service to the expeditions 
that he accompanied as interpreter — viz. Penny's and Kane's. He is now serving 
with Capt. M'Clintock. 

- See 'Erindringer fra Polarlanderne,' p. 12. 


current, do not freeze, even in the severest winter, although the 
whole waters round them are covered with ice of two to four feet 
thick, and Kane himself remarks, that in the most rigorous cold 
he has found such stream-holes. As soon as the Spring commences 
these stream-holes expand themselves, as the ice in their neighbour- 
hood is always thinner and sooner thawed, either above, by the 
sun, or below, by the under-current. 

Now, as Morton's expedition was undertaken at Midsummer, and 
as he found such an opening in the ice, not more than 90 miles from 
the place where they, the year before, had been able to navigate 
the vessel, and as there was an unusually strong current running 
in this opening, which just appeared where the Strait became 
smaller, nothing is more probable than that this opening was just 
such a stream-hole, in which opinion I must concur with Petersen, 
until stronger proofs be adduced in favour of the hypothesis of 
an Open Polar Sea kept open by a branch of the Gulf- stream 
deflected from Nova Zembla to the Pole : a solution of a problem 
which has occupied Geographers since 1596, if not farther 
back, &c., &c,' 

Next, as to what concerns the lands that are said to surround 
this enigmatical Sea with a coast of 90 to 130 miles in extent, 
which Morton measured almost at a single glance, and which Kane 
has been able to lay down on his chart, even with an exact coast 
margin, adorned with celebrated names, and accompanied in the 
text with correct statements of the heights of mountains (Mount 
Parry, &c., &c.), I must express a well-founded doubt of the correct- 
ness of all this. 

The ship, as stated, was frozen in on the coast of Greenland, in 
78'' 37' N. lat., in the beginning of September, 1853. Of the expe- 
ditions that were sent out the same Autumn with boats or sledges, 
one reached, as presumed, 79' 50' n. lat. along the same coast. In 
March, 1854, Dr. Kane sent out a sledge expedition, which was 
obliged to return without result; the eight travellers who took 
part in it were in the greatest danger of being frozen to death ; 
three of them had a foot or toes amputated, and one died a few 
days after his return. Of the later expeditions, the one under Dr. 
Hayes was directed towards the opposite, or American coast, which 
he traversed to 79^^ 45' n. lat. under great sufferings from snow- 
blindness. The others kept under the coast of Greenland, and did 
not got farther than Humboldt glacier, or al)Out 79?' N. lat. ; Avith 
the exception only of the one undertaken by JMorton and Hans, 

' See Kuiic'd 'Considerations,' vol. i. pp. yOl-IJOt). 


who, according to their own statement, reached 81° 20' n. lat., from 
which point they supposed they had seen land as far as 82° 30' n. 
lat. ; these two members of the expedition alone came to the Open 
water. The breadth of the whole of the northernmost part of 
Baffin Bay, thus explored, was from 8 to 16 geographical miles 
between the coasts of Greenland and America.' 

After the first excursions in the vicinity of their winter quarters 
attention was directly drawn to the great Humboldt glacier, and 
Kane had an occasion, one clear day in Aj)ril, to survey it closely ; 
and then remarks : — 

" My notes speak simply of the ' long ever-shining line of cliff, diminished 
to a well-pointed wedge in the perspective ;' and again, of ' the face of glisten- 
ing ice, sweeping in a long curve from the low interior, the facets in front 
intensely illuminated by the sun.' But this line of cliff rose in a solid 
glassy wall, 300 feet above the water-level, with an unknown, unfathomable 
depth below it ; and its curved face, 60 miles in length from Cape Agassiz to 
Cape Forbes, vanished into unknown space at not more than a single day's 
railroad travel from the Pole. The interior with which it communicated, and 
from which it issued, was an unsurveyed mer de glace, an ice-ocean, to the eye, 
of boundless dimensions. 

" It was in full sight — the mighty crystal bridge which connects the two 
continents of America and Greenland. I say continents ; for Greenland, 
however insulated it may ultimately prove to be, is in mass strictly continental. 
The least possible axis, measured from Cape Farewell to the line of this glacier, 
in the neighbourhood of the 80th parallel, gives a length of more than 1200 
miles, not materially less than that of Australia from its northern to its 
southern Cape. 

" Imagine, now, the centre of such a continent, occupied through nearly its 
whole extent by a deep unbroken sea of ice, that gathers perennial increase 
from the waterparting of vast snow-covered mountains, and all the precipitations 
of the atmosphere upon its own surface. Imagine this, moving onward like a 
great glacial river, seeking outlets at every fjord and valley, rolling icy cata- 
racts into the Atlantic and Greenland seas ; and, having at last reached the 
northern limit of the land that has borne it up, pouring out a mighty frozen 
torrent into unknown Arctic space. 

"It is thus, and only thus, that we must form a just conception of a 
phenomenon like this great glacier. I had looked in my own mind for such 
an appearance, should I ever be fortunate enough to reach the northern coast 
of Greenland. But now that it was before me, I could hardly realize it. 

" I had recognized, in my quiet library at home, the beautiful analogies 
which Forbes and Studer have developed between the glacier and the river. 
But I could not comprehend at first this complete substitution of ice for 
water. It was slowly that the conviction dawned on me, that I was looking 
on the counterpart of the great river-system of Arctic Asia and America. 
Yet, here were no water-feeders from the south. Every particle of moisture 

• -See vol. i. pp. 225-228. 


had its origia within the Polar circle, and had been converted into ice. There 
were no vast alluvions, no forest or animal traces borne down by liquid 
toiTents. Here was a plastic, moving, semi-solid mass, obliterating lite, 
swallowing rocks and islands, and ploughing its way with irresistible march 
through the crust of an investing sea." 

As Kane, in this section of his work, just expatiates upon the 
nature and quality of the whole of Greenland and its unknown 
interior, it is chiefly at this place that I must refer to my previously 
cited work ; in the first section of which, at page 10, 1 have treated 
on the extension of the land-ice, and the origin of the floating ice- 
bergs. But as the subject is rather comprehensive, I will here 
confine myself to the following remarks : — 

The interior, with which the glacier stood in connection was : 
"an ice-ocean, to the eye, of boundless dimensions." That this 
ice-ocean could not be overlooked at that place certainly does not 
signify much with regard to its extent ; but farther on, he remarked 
that it occupies the whole centre of Greenland, right down to Cape 
Farewell. Now, from what source does the author know this, as 
he only cites a few places, quite in the neighbourhood of his winter 
harbour, where he has followed the margin of the inland ice, and 
had never been in the fjords of Greenland, between Upernivik and 
Cape Farewell ? I for my part have emploj'ed eight years in ex- 
amining to what degree the interior was covered with ice, by pur- 
suing it from fjord to fjord ; and nevertheless I have been obliged 
to confine myself to conjecture with regard to many extensive tracts 
that lie between these fjords ; and my own explorations in this 
direction, must, as we shall see, be supposed to have been unknown 
to him. In the account of his first voyage,^ he says of the Omenak 
fjord, that he could see into its mouth whilst sailing up the Strait ; 
that its interior had never yet been explored, and that there was 
great probability that it passed rigiit through the country to this 
Atlantic Ocean. But if we admit this central ice-ocean as existing, 
what does it then signify ? that this ice-ocean moves like a great 
ice-river (from south to north V), rolling cataracts of ice out to both 
sides in the Atlantic and Greenland seas, until it reaches the northern 
bouudaiy of the coimtry, and there pours forth a mighty frozen 
stream, Humboldt glacier, in that unknown Arctic space ? 1 cannot 
follow the author in liis bold flight over the icy desert of Greenland, 
and still less can I conceive that he, in all this, only sees a confir- 
mation of what he hatl already earlier foreseen in his own mind, if 
he " should ever be fortunate enough to reach the northern coast of Green- 

' '(iriniicll Expedition,' 1854, j). 53. 


land,'' — that which he presumes to have discovered on this expe- 
dition. The reality is, that wherever one attempts to proceed np 
the fjords of Greenland, the interior appears covered with ice ; hut 
there is no reason whatever to assume that this applies to the 
central part of the country, in which one, on the contrary, just as 
well may assume that there are liigh mountain-chains, which pro- 
trude partly from the ice. A remarkable movement is found in this 
ice-mass ; but this is so far from having a kind of main direction 
after the central axis of the land towards the Humboldt glacier, 
that this arm of the ice, on the contrary, seems to belong to those 
that are in a less degree of motion, whereas the greatest agency 
takes place around Jakobs-havn ice fjord, Omenak fjord, and others. 
Farther, this movement can only be measured by the masses of ice 
that pass annually out of these fjords, and of which one can only 
obtain a tolerable conception by remaining for a long time at the 
mouths of the fjords. These ice- fjords point out probably the rivers 
of the original land, now buried under ice. Whereas no conclusion 
can be drawn from the ice itself and the appearance of its branches 
that go down to the sea, for it is almost quite uniform everywhere 
from Julianehaab to Upernivik. 

The author, in concluding his remarks, says it was first when he 
saw Humboldt glacier that Forbes's and Studer's idea of the like- 
ness between the glacier and the river began slowly to dawn on 
him ; but the same species of glacier, which these celebrated natu- 
ralists have examined on the Alps and in Norway, is found in many 
places on outer-Greenland, or what I would call ice-free Greenland. 
These Kane had seen at Disko, near Upernivik, and other places, 
before he reached " Humboldt glacier." In order to examine its 
significance in comparison with the rest of the branches of inland 
ice, he must have made observations and calculations of how many 
icebergs it annually yielded to the sea, as from its appearance he 
could scarcely form any opinion. By seeing such a branch of in- 
land ice, on -account of the uniform ice-plateau whence it issues, one 
gets a smaller impression of its similarity with a river than by 
seeing the Alpine glaciers and the glaciers on the outer coast of 
Greenland, as these just fill up clifts which — to judge from their 
form — must be beds of watercourses. Those arms of inland ice, 
which send scarcely any ice into the sea, show, on the contrary, 
about the same appearance as those that send out annually thousands 
of millions of cubic feet of ice into the sea, and therefore must be 
supposed to be maintained by river territories of many hundred 
geographical square miles. 

I now proceed to examine its signification us a sort of connecting 


link between Greenland and the American continent. Dr. Kane 
says " it was in full sight — the mighty crystal bridge which con- 
nects the two continents of America and Greenland ;" and after- 
wards, in a note, " I have spoken of Humboldt glacier as connecting 
the two continents of America and Greenland. The expression 
requires explanation," &c. Difficult as it is to understand. Dr. 
Kane seems to mean that Greenland is separated fiom, and therefoio 
half connected with, the Arctic- American Archipelago by a less broad 
Sound, beyond Humboldt glacier. 

Petersen says, that Kane himself would have undertaken an 
excursion to the north in the middle of April 1855, but that he 
could not get the Esquimaux to accompany him, as they would 
only go bear-hunting around the ice cliifs near Humboldt glacier, 
and thus Kane was only absent 24 hours on this tour. Kane 
says that as he could not reach the Open Water, he sought compen- 
sation in a closer examination of the great glacier, of which he now 
again takes occasion to give a lively description, concluding with 
the following allusion to the previously-mentioned idea of the con- 
nection between Greenland and America : — 

" Thus diversified in its aspect, it stretches to the north till it bounds uix)u 
the new laud of Washington, cementing into one the Greenland of the Scandi- 
navian Vikings and the America of Cokimbus." 

In the earlier sections there is spoken of the extension and move- 
ment of the inland ice; here is specially mentioned the manner in 
which the floating icebergs tear themselves loose from that side 
which goes out to the sea — the calvings as they are called in the 
ice-fjords. None of those engaged in the expedition had had an 
opportunity to make direct observations in these respects. In order 
to obtain the necessary prospect, Kane climbed up "one of the 
highest icebergs," whilst his fellow-travellers rested themselves. 
From here he meant he could see that 

" The indication of a great propelling agency seemed to be just commencing 
at the time I was observing it." 

It appeared to him as if the split-off lines of the fast land ice, which 
signify the beginning of the loosening, were evidently about to 
extend themselves. As the calving, however, did not follow, Kane 
confines himself to remark respecting it — 

" Regarded upon a large scale, I am satisfied that the iceberg is not disen- 
gaged by debacle, as I once supi)osed. So far from falling into the sea, broken 
by its weight from the parent glacier, it rises from the sea." 

He next adds that 

"The idea of icebergs being discharged, so universal among systematic 


writers aiul su recently admitted by himself, seems now to liim at variance with 
the regulated and progressive actions of nature." 

By this I conclude that Dr. Kane had not seen my work on North 
Greenland, or, at all events, that part of it which treats of the ex- 
tension of the land-ice and the origin of the floating icebergs, and 
wherein it states — 

" But from what has been already mentioned, it must be evident that the 
icebergs must not be considered as breaking loose and falling down from 
precipices ; one might rather say that they lift themselves," &c. &c. 

That Kane did not know this is certainly very striking to me, as 
the literature which treats of the glaciers of the Polar lands, and 
especially those of Greenland and the origin of the icebergs, is not 
great. Dr. Kane had sought information respecting the nature of 
the country in our Danish colonies, and as my above-mentioned 
work is cited in his own, if not by himself, still by his assistant, 
Charles Schott, in the Appendix XIII., p. 426.\ He says also, at 
page 150, that the height of the ice- wall at the nearest point was 
about 300 feet, measured from the water's edge. As a consequence 
thereof the floating icebergs, which lay before it and were detached 
from this ice-wall, must have been, on the average, above 300 feet, 
if they should be imagined as formed by an elevation during the 
time of being detached. 

I have accurately measured many frozen icebergs, particularly in 
the winter, on Omenak fjord, and 1 have thereby come to the result 
that the common height of the larger ones, and especially of those 
that may be supposed to lie, in some measure, in the original position 
which they had had after their breaking loose, was somewhat more 
than 100 feet. I have also measured them as high as 160 feet, and 
I have seen some that I should estimate at 200 feet high ; but this 
was when there were points or edges that had come to jut upwards 
by the mighty ice-block having turned and changed its position in 
the water. That the whole of the collected mass of icebergs before 
the Humboldt glacier should have been considerably more than 
300 feet in height generally — the highest, consequently, even 600 
feet- — I can certainly not disprove ; but I must strongly doubt. 

We now come^ to the remarkable sledge expedition of Morton 
and Hans, on which they first passed the whole exterior maigiu of 
the great glacier, with the icebergs lying before, and those torn 
from it and floating about ; they then drove farther towards the 
north, found the ice more and more unsafe, and were at last inter- 

' See also 'Journal of Royal Geographical Society,' vol. xxiii. p. 145. — Eu. 
^ /See vol. i. pp. 280-310 of Kane's Work. 


rupted by the Opeu Sea, when they drove some distauce along the 
shore, and lastly Morton went alone on foot as far as he could to 
obtain a survey of the navigable water farther towards the north. 
The whole journey, from the moment they saw the Open ISea until 
they were compelled to return, after a very difficult passage, during 
which they were also bear-hunting, lasted only three days, or from 
the 21st to the 24th of June. 

^\ hat Morton saw in these three days is the foundation fur the 
whole theory of Kane's Open Polar Sea, and whatever stands in 
connection therewith. Kane gives us this account with his own 
explanations, and in a separate Appendix he has communicated 
Morton's own jouinal. It is stated that this man had instruments 
with him to determine the geographical positions. As far as 1 can 
judge from the chart, as laid down in the fiist volume, and from the 
Appendix, No. VI., ^ more than 20 points of longitude and latitude 
are determined by him on that toilsome journey beyond the Hum- 
boldt glacier, besides the numerous points on the opposite coast, to 
which they did not come, and which, therefore, appear to be laid 
down only after bearings. 

When 1 consider the great haste required to reach the farther- 
most point towards the north, and to return before the ice broke up, 
the very difficult and toilsome passage through deep snow, over 
openings, the most trackless ice-walls, &c. &c., 1 cannot sufficiently 
admire Morton's dexterity in attending at the same time to these 
observations which require so much repose and accuracy. 

The travellers drove past the floating icebergs that were torn 
loose from the glacier and lay piled up before it. Several reasons 
are adduced to show that it could be ascertained that they were 
formed or torn loose very recently, as they had a fresh shining 
surface and no projecting foot under the water. It is, however, 
tspecially from the accounts given of this place that 1 conclude 
that the Humboldt glacier does not belong to the most active of 
the inland ice-streams of North Greenland. The icebergs lay only 
a few Danish miles out from the fast land-ice, and one must con- 
sider that they have perhaps taken several yeais to be filled up, 
as all the navigable waters thereabout were frozen ; they could 
scarcely come out any other way than towards the south, and this 
passage perhaps opens only now and then in diiferent years. The 
great ice-ljords that are known in North Greenland are annually 
cleared of great masses of ice, that are driven to sea. If this wore 
not the case, the inner navigable waters would soon be stopped up, 

' Tho adrononiical obaervutioii.s obtuiiicLl ljy IMiirlun arc lluuo iiiuiitliuiial 
altitudca ol' the auii. — liu. 


and the incessantly-propelled land-ice extend itself over the sur- 
rounding land. 

After having passed the icebergs, they came to the place where 
the sea-ice on which they drove became thinner and thinner, so 
that the dogs trembled, and at last they durst not drive farther on 
it, but sought the land, or rather the firmer ice-edge that lay imme- 
diately along the shore. At last the ice gave place for quite open 
water, and here it is stated, at page 288, that — 

" The tide was running very fast ; the ice-pieces of heaviest draught floated 
by nearly as fast as the ordinary walk of a man, and the surface pieces passed 
them much faster, at least four knots." 

Kane has already given an excellent description of a stream-hole ; 
but had it been the margin of the Open Sea moved by the swell, 
the ice would have kept its thickness, at least to some extent, just 
as one approached it, but it would have been broken, screwed up, 
and thus more or less in drift. In short, such a margin of ice is 
cut oif sharper, with respect to thickness, whereas a successive 
transition from ice to water is found around a stream-hole, for which 
reason it is so dangerous to approach such places. The above-mentioned 
tide-stream of four knots is even so strong, that one (particularly as 
it was in a pretty large sound, and not in a narrow pass of some few 
yards in breadth) can already conclude that in such a place no ice 
would be able to hold in the month of June, even to a con^^iderable 
circumference. Even f^irther up Morton observed that the ice-pieces 
drifted at the rate of four miles an hour, and that the stream varied 
first from north to south and then from south to north, just as is 
the case everywhere in the inner navigable waters along the coast 
of Greenland, originating from the ebb and flood. (See vol. ii., p. 

The last-mentioned observation was made by Morton on the 22nd 
of June, consequently there was not until that moment the most 
remote reason to suppose an Open Polar Sea. The Sound had like- 
wise a direction north, and there was thus no sign whatever that 
the coast under which they found themselves turned towards the 
east, or that they found themselves at the end of Greenland. We 
will now consider the adventures of the two following days, after 
Morton's own description (vol. ii., pp. 377, 378). These adventures 
form the main foundation for the ideas about the end of Greenland 
— the Open Polar Sea— the Gulf-stream, which warms up the Pole 
— the solution of that problem which has occupied the geographical 
world since 1596, &c. &c. ; and with these must stand or fall the 
whole of that splendid building, of which Kane has sketched a 
drawing in vol. i., pp. 301 -309. 


On the 23rd of June Morton and Hans started, but not before 
noon, in consequence of a continued gale from iho north, but after 
driving about G English miles they found the ice along the coast 
quite broken up and impassable. They therefore made a lialt with 
the sledge, and undertook a journey on foot, but returned and en- 
camped by the sledge. 

The following day, the 24th of June, they started on foot very 
early in the morning ; their intention was to come past a high cape, 
behind which there was still hope that they could get a free prospect 
towards the east, and thus see the end of Greenland. After a very 
toilsome wandering, as they wore sometimes obliged to crawl over 
cliffs and sometimes to spring over loose floating pieces of ice, they 
fell in with a she-bear and her cub, which they killed, and then 
boiled a strengthening dish of the flesh on the spot, as they found 
some plants and a piece of a sledge, whereof they made a fire. As 
yet nothing was discovered that could lay the foundation to the 
above-named theories, and nevertheless all was to be attained before 
the following day. On account of the importance of the events that 
occurred between, I will give Morton's statement, as it will be found 
in the place cited : — 

" After this delay (the bear-hunting) we started in the hope of being able 
to reach the cape to the north of us. At the very lower end of the bay there 
was still a little old fast ice over which we went without following the curve 
of the bay up the fjord, which shortened our distance considerably. Hans 
became tired, and I sent him more inland where the travelling was less 
laborious. As I proceeded towards the cape ahead of me the water came again 
close in-shore. I endeavoured to reach it, but found this extremely difficult, 
as there were piles of broken rocks rising on the cliffs in many places to the 
height of 100 feet. The cliffs above these were perpendicular, and nearly 2000 
feet high. I climbed over the rubbish, but beyond it the sea was washing the 
foot of the cliffs, and, as there were no ledges, it was impossible for me to 
advance another foot. I was much disappointed, because one hour's travel 
would have brought me round the cape. The knob to which I climbed was 
(jver 500 feet in height, and from it there was not a speck of ice to be seen. 
As far as I could discern the sea was open, a swell coming in from the north- 
ward and running crosswise, as if with a small eastern set. The wind was 
due north — enough of it to make white caps — and the surf broke in on the 
rocks below in regular breakers. The sky to the north-west was of dark 
rain-cloud, the first that I had seen since the brig was frozen up. Ivory 
gulls were nesting in the rocks above me, and out to sea were mollemokc 
and silver-backed gulls. The ducks had not been seen north of the first 
island of the channel, but petrel and gulls hung about tiie waves near the 

" Jane 25. — As it was impossible to get round the cape 1 retraced my 
steps," &c. &c. 


With this, the exploration of the open Polar Sea,' and the farthest 
lands on our globe, was ended. Morton felt himself disappointed 
in not being able to come past that terrible cape, which hid his 
prospect towards the east. I, for my part, was not disappointed on 
reading that such a hindrance arose before him. I know it from 
sad experience, as I, during three consecutive winters, have followed 
the winding coasts of North Greenland in dog sledges, in order to 
lay them down on my chart. I know these bewitched points which 
continue to shoot forth when one thinks one is at the end of an 
island, these endless promontories which one must get past before 
one can reach the right promontory, and can turn round ; these hills 
— these eternal tops — that shoot up when one ascends the cliffs, 
before one reaches the right top, whence one can have the wished- 
fur prospect. I have passed half a day thus only to get the wished-for 
general view over one single fjord-arm, and that even sometimes in 
vain. What must it then not be, when one on an afternoon, and on 
foot, seeks to reach the unknown end, to use Kane's own words, of 
a " whole little Continent? " 

We will now return to Kane's representation, and, on account of 
its considerable extent, confine ourselves to inquire into the most 
important conclusions, through which he comes to such great results 
from the facts communicated above. 

Dr. Kane remarks in several places, that although it blew a strong 
and almost stormy north wind during those days when Morton tra- 
velled along the open water, there came only some few half-dissolved 
pieces of ice drifting from the north, and at last none at all. This 
shows, if one will draw any conclusion whatever from it, that the 
navigable water, a good way from the mouth of the narrow pass, in 
which the stream was so extremely rapid, had been covered with 
still good ivinter ice. For if it were really on the border of the open 
sea one might expect to find much loose drift-ice between the 
margin of the fast ice over which they had driven, and the quite 
.open sea ; and there was a great probability that such drift-ice 
must appear and press on during a continued north wind. A 
sudden beginning of a perfectly ice-free sea is scarcely to be 

' With reference to the latitude of the northernmost point reached by Morton, 
he states in his Journal, p. 378, vol. ii., "We arrived at our camp where we had 
left the sledge at 5 p.m., having been absent 36 hours, during which time we hud 
travelled twenty miles due north of it. June 2ijth. — Before starting I took a 
meridian altitude of the sun." This observation is worked at page 388 in the 
same volume, where the result appears as 80° 20' 2" 

Add 20 miles according to the above remark . . . . 20 

Latitude of the farthest point reached by Morton .. 80 40 2 


An important, criterion whereby to judge if one has opeii water, 
is the ground swell of the sea. This is seen at Jiilianehaab, when 
the ice from the east coast is expected in the spring. To look after 
the ice itself from hills of some hundred feet in height is not of 
much use, for if it be first in sight it is also very near, and in a 
short time is on land. But in general one can know its proximity 
by the cessation of the ground-swell several days beforehand. To 
observe this with certainty the weather must be quite still, for the 
swell which even a common wind produces makes the observation 
uncertain. Kane adduces the swell and surge as proofs of the Open 
Polar Sea ; but as it is expressly stated that it blew almost a storm 
the loJiole time, the effects of such a storm on an open surface of the 
sea, of possibly 20 or 30 miles in extent, are sufficient to make 
the presumed observation perfectly invalid. Still more uncertain 
does the observation of Morton appear to me, that the swell caused 
by the wind from the north, which he pretends to have remarked 
from the farthermost point of land, was acted on by another swell 
from the east, behind that Cape which concealed the end of Green- 
land and the beginning of the great Polar Sea from his view. 

A third fact which Kane adduces in favour of his theory of the 
Polar Sea, is the increasing abundance of animals and plants in 
the district to the north of the glacier. It is mentioned in par- 
ticular that seals and sea-fowl were seen in great numbers in, as well 
as around the neighbourhood of, the open water. Passing over the 
more cursorily touched observation, that the birds flew in an eastern 
direction behind the oft-mentioned cape which Morton could not 
come past, I shall only remark that I, on the contrary, regard that 
flocking together of sea animals and birds as a sign of one single 
opening in the sea, the rest of which was covered with ice. Such 
openings are just characteristic gathering-places for seals and sea- 
fowl. Nor do the plants which the Greenlander Hans is said to 
have seen, but no specimens of which were collected, and which 
from his bare description, are determined and inserted with Tjatin 
names of their genera and species at page 462, appear to afford any 
weighty proof of the Open Sea and an increasing mildness of climate 
towards the North Pole. 

I now come to the real question, the knob to which Morton climbed 
when he could not come farther, and from which he, " as far as he 
could discern," found the sea Open. lie says that it was over 500 
feet in height, though ho likewise remarks that the cliffs around, to 
a height of 100 feet, which were difficult to reach, were quite per- 
pendicular. As far as I can make out, this is the same point to 
which Kane, at page 299, gives a height of 300 feet ; at page 305, 


of 480 feet ; and lastly, at page 307, where be compares it with the 
points from which former expeditions are supposed to have seen 
the open sea, of 580 feet. How this very doubtful height was 
measured, is not mentioned, and yet it is from this position that the 
size of the surveyed open space is to be given. Nor have I been 
able to find due information of how clear the air was, nor where 
the sun was at that time. Morton speaks of a dark rain-cloud in 
the N.w. ; and a delineation of the open sea, with Morton in the 
foreground, "/rom description" as it is called, is also given at page 
307. But with the exception of a mysterious round body bathing 
one half in the sea, but which cannot be the sun at this season of 
the year, a long way above the horizon, even at midnight, one sees 
nothing but the sea bounds bordering the horizon. Neither is it 
quite clear in what direction the oft-mentioned Cape concealed the 
prospect towards the east. We see the coast-line on the chart broken 
abmptly off by the farthest point that Morton saw. We ought to 
have the necessary information about all these questions in order 
to judge of the correctness of the calculations by which Kane, at 
page 302, came to the result, that Morton could see from his " look- 
out " to a distance of 36 miles, and that he had consequently sur- 
veyed an Open Sea of more than 4000 square miles. Every one 
acquainted with the nature of " looJcing out " after ice will admit 
the folly of determining with certainty, by sight alone, from a 
height of some few hundred feet, that flat ice is not to be found on 
the sea in the farthest margin of the horizon, or at a distance of 
36 miles. If even, as I much doubt, it could be possible, under 
very favourable circumstances, to discover it at such a distance if it 
were there, it however becomes an impossibility to determine its 
absence with certainty. If we now remember that the part of the 
sea which Morton had already passed, after he left the Humboldt 
glacier, was kept open by the strong current, that this stream-hole 
must be regarded as one of the most unusual on account of its 
breadth, and that it is not at all decided if this strong current did 
not continue past Cape Jefferson, on which he stood, it appears 
probable that such a stream could continue its thawing activity far 
past this point ; and even if it were correct that there had not been 
ice 36 miles out before this channel-opening, thei'e is, however, no 
reason to seek such distant causes as those which the author has 
assigned in order to explain this phenomenon in another manner. 
Should there really be an open Polar basin in the summer, or at 
certain other periods, there is at all events no reason to suppose 
that this Open Sea had been reached by this expedition. 

In conclusion, let me touch on the coasts discovered on this 


expedition, as represented on the chart at the beginning of the first 
volume. They who know how deceptive it is to look at the con- 
figiiration of such high mountains at a distance from the sea, how 
all melts together, islands are taken for continents, promontories for 
islands, and deep spacious fjords and sounds quite disappear, will 
certainly agree with me in admiring the boldness with which the 
opposite coast, from Cape John Barrow to Mount Parry, an extent 
of more than two degrees of latitude, which they approached at the 
very nearest, at a distance of 25 to 40 miles, is found marked out 
on the said map as a clearly defined connecting shaded line, making 
only a little curve towards the east, in order to limit the Open l\)lar 
Sea, and, as if to receive the Gulf-stream, said to flow from Nova 
Zembla, and lead it down through Smith Strait to Baffin Bay. The 
heights of the mountains, according to the guessed distances, are on 
the other hand just as remarkable as determining the distances 
without knowing the heights of the mountains. The farthest 
mountain-top that Morton saw — " the most remote northern land hnown 
upon our globe " — has been put at 2500 to 3000 feet, and 100 miles 
fiom Morton's last station. Notwithstanding this great distance, 
Morton saw however that the top was bare, and that it was striped, 
vertically with projecting ledges. Beyond this ultima Tlmle, about 
60 to 80 miles from Morton's farthest station, and as it seems partly 
behind the Cape which stopped his view, is indicated " oj^ejt sea," 
Had i\Iorton only passed round his cape he would possibly have 
seen fresh capes shooting forth incessantly until he reached Mount 
Pany, which might have been thus connected by a neck of land with 
Greenland, and again on the other side large bays and sounds might 
have opened themselves on the American side and broken off the line 
now so nicely laid down on his map. 

I have thus exhausted the most important points respecting these 
discoveries, which are represented as the crowning glories of the 
expedition. 'J'liese Polar expeditions were dispatched for the dis- 
covery of the North-Wcst Passage and of the remains of the Fianklin 
Expedition, and both these problems have been solved by Biitish 
enterprise. So far as they fall short of the finding the remains of 
Franklin or of the North-West Passage, they do not promise any 
advantages that can in any way answer to the moans and clTorts 
they demand. 

Dr. Kane has undeniably gone beyond what he promised in his 
preface, namely, to give a simple narrative of the adventures of his 
party ; and he has hereby, in my humble opinion, injured more 
than benefited his work ; and the numerous really interesting and 
remarkable elucidations concerning the nature of North Greenland, 


obtained by immense labour and rare efforts, are thereby in a 
manner cast in the shade. Every one who interests himself for the 
Arctic regions will, in Kane's work, find valuable contributions to 
their description. Let me, among others, especially point out the 
description of the mode of life of the inhabitants of those northern 
regions ; the remarkable abundance of walruses, bears, and other 
animal life ; the observations on the growth of plants, and on the 
temperature, as well as those respecting the formations of ice on sea 
and land, &c. &c.^ 

> See ' Proceedings R. G. S.,' vol. ii. pp. 195 and 359, also vol. iii.— Ed. 

( ^7 ) 



By Admiral E. Irminger, of the Danish Navy.' 

Several hydrographers ^ assert that a current from the ocean 
around Spitzbergen continues its course along the E. coast of 
Greenland, and thence in a nearly straight line towards the banks 
of Newfoundland. In this opinion I do not agree, and give my 
reasons as follows. 

Considerable quantities of ice are annually brought with the 
current from the ocean around Spitzbergen to the s. and s,w. along 
the E. coast of Greenland,^ around Cape Farewell, and into Davis 

These enormous masses of ice are frequently drifted so close to 
the southern part of the coast of Greenland that navigation through 
it is impossible. Experience has taught the captains who every 
year navigate between Copenhagen and the Greenland colonies 
(which all are situated on the w. side of Greenland) that, on going 

' From the ' Journal of the Eoyal Geographical Society,' vol. xxvi. 

* Kerhallet, Berghaus, and others. 

* See Graah, Scoresby, &c., as well as the ' Accounts of the Whalers in the year 
1777, by Larens Hansen, Director of the School at Ribe,' in Doinnark. These accounts of ten whalers, witli their captains, and printed letters 
from several of these captains to the above-mentioned L. Hansen, give a striking 
proof of the current and its rapidity from the ocean around Spitzbergen to the 
s.w. along the e. coast of Greenland. The said ten vessels were enclosed in the 
ice in June 1777, in about 76^ lat. N., between Sfjitzbergen and Jan-Mayeu island, 
and were carried, constantly enclosed by the ire, in a south-westerly dircctiim. 
between Iceland and Greenlaml, very often in sight of the Greenland coast. IJy 
degrees all the vessels were Inst, being crushed by the ice ; the last vessel on the 
11th of ( )ctober, in (jp lat. N , in sight of ( ireenland. Of the crews of these vessels, 
which consisted of about 4o0 nnii, only 1 Hi (whose names I have before mo) were 
so fortunate as to save tlieir lives, and get a^liore from the ice in the month of 
October and beginning of November, on the coast around Cape Farewell. By 
calculating the distance between Capo Farewell and the place where tho vessels 
were enelo.sed in tlie ice lietwciii Sjjitzbergeu and Jan-Mnyen, it gives a distance 
of about 1400 iiautic miles, and the time tiie ice oeeui)ied in drifting from the 
above-mentioned pla(!e to Cape Farewell being about four months, tlie rapidity of 
this current lias a mean of at least between 11 and 12 nautic miles per 21 iiour,-. 


to these colonies, in order to avoid being beset iu the ice, they are 
obliged to pass a couple of degrees to the southward of Cape Fare- 
well, as well as, after having crossed the meridian of this cape, 
generally not to steer much to the northward before reaching 
long. 50° or 52° w. of Greenwich, and sometimes even more 
westerly. The amount of westing is dependent on the wind, 
weather, or ice ; and b}' proceeding thus an open sea is reached, 
either quite free from ice or else with it much more diffused than 
near the coast, where the ships would be liable to be caught in the 
drifting masses. 

A similar caution is exercised on the homeward passage from 
the colonies, the course being in the first place off the land, and 
then in a more southerly direction in order to reach the open sea 
free from the dangerous ice. 

To be enabled to give an idea about the limits of the ice in these 
regions, I examined a set of logbooks which were kindly given me 
for perusal from the directors for the " Eoyal Greenland Com- 
merce," viz., two logbooks for each of the last five years, which 
gives two outward and two homeward voyages to the colonies every 
year, consequently in all twenty voyages, which I found sufficient 
without extending these researches to too great a length. 

There are unquestionably great changes in the limits of the ice 
in different seasons ; but still it is probable that the result of these 
five years' observations will not be far from the mean. 

From these logbooks I noted at what latitude the meridian of 
Cape Farewell had been crossed on the passage to the colonies, and 
at what place the first ice was seen, and on what latitude the 
meridian of Cape Farewell was crossed on the homeward passage, 
and where the last ice was seen. 

In the ensuing Table these positions are inserted, and, to make 
the subject still clearer, the places where the first and the last ice 
was seen are marked in the subjoined Plan. 

By examining this Table it will be seen that the meridian of 
Cape Farewell is crossed on the outward passage in a mean lat. 
of 57° 46', and on the homeward passage in 58° 2' n., which gives 
123 m. and 107 m. s. of Cape Farewell ' respectively as the points 
where the ocean, according to the logbooks, has been quite clear of 
ice, and where, under ordinary circumstances, a safe passage can 
be made to avoid the ice, which is usually carried round the coast 
of Cape Farewell by the current coming from the ocean around 

' Accorditig to the observations of Captain Graah. Cape Farewell is situated in 
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On the voyages from tlie colonies to Copenhagen the course pur- 
sued has "been somewhat nearer Cape Farewell (16 m.), the cause 
of which is — 1, that the captains, in coming from Davis Strait, 
have a better knowledge of the situation of the ice, and its dis- 
tance from the land, than they can have on going up to Greenland 
in coming from the Atlantic Ocean, where no ice is to be seen ; 
and 2, because the home passages are made in a season in which 
the ice generally is not quite so abundant as in spring, the season 
for the voyages to the colonies. 

The subjoined Table shows that the brig Lucinde fell in with 
ice farthest to the e. (4th October, 1851, in 58° 30' n., and 
39° '60' w. of Greenwich), which gives 79 nautic m. s., and about 
135 nautic m. E. of Cape Farewell. This ice consisted only of a 
single isolated iloe of very small extent ; and it is very rare to 
meet ice in this latitude so far to the eastward.' 

On the passage from Julianshaab to this place very little ice 
had been in sight. 

On these voyages the firxt and the last seen ice generally con- 
sisted of isolated icebergs or floes, which no doubt formed the very 
extremity of the ice which was coming from the n.e. around Cape 
Farewell, and going into Davis Strait. Consequently the great 
and more accumulated masses of ice carried by the current from 
the ocean around Spitzbergen (whereby this current is really indi- 
cated) are between these above-named outer limits and the coast of 

The southerly and south-westerly coasts of Greenland are most 
exposed to be blocked up with these ice-drifts in sp-ing ; whilst, 
on the contrary, they are pretty clear of ice from September to 
January ; but in the end of this month the ice generally begins to 
come again in great abundance, passing around Cape Farewell. 
(Captain Graah, p. 59.) 

Still further to demonstrate the existence of this ice-drift, I may 
mention the following extract from the logbook of the schooner 
Activ, Captain J. Andersen. This vessel belongs to the colony of 
Julianehaab, and is used as a transport in this district : — 

7th of April, 1851, the Activ left Julianshaab, bound to the dif- 
ferent establishments on the coast between Julianshaab and Cape 
Farewell. The same day the captain was forced by the ice to take 

' On the voj'age to Greenland in 1828, Captain Graah fell in with the first ice 
in 58° 52' lat. n., and 41° 25' w. Greenwicli, which is only 57' s., and about 77 
nautic miles to the eastward of Cape Farewell ; and he says, " Since 1817, I do 
not know that the ice has been seen so tar to the eastward of the Cape.'' — 
' Narrative of an Expedition to the East Coast of Greenland, by Copt. W. A. Graah, 
Eoyal Danish Navy,' p. 21, Eng. Transl 


refuge in a liarbour. Frequent snow-storms and frost. On account 
of icebergs and great masses of floe-ice enclosing the coast, it was 
impossible to proceed on the voj-age before the 23rd, when the ice 
was found to be more open; but after a few hours' sailing the 
ice again obliged the captain to. put into a harbour. Closed in by 
the ice until the 27tli. The ice was now open, and the voyage pro- 
ceeded until the 1st of May, when the ice compelled him to go into 
a harbour. 

In this month- violent storms, snow, and frost. From the most 
elevated points ashore very often no extent of sea visible ; now and 
then the ice open, but not sufficiently so for proceeding on the 

At last, on the Gth of June, in the morning, the voyage was con- 
tinued ; but the same evening the ice enclosed the coast, and the 
schooner was brought into " Bliesehullet," a port in the neighbour- 
hood of Cape Farewell. 

The following day the voyage was pursued through the openings 
between the ice; and the 18th of June the schooner arrived again 
at Julianshaab. 

Whilst the masses of ice, as above mentioned, enclosed the coast 
between Julianshaab and Cape Farewell, the brig Lucinde crossed 
the meridian of Cape Farewell on the 26th of April, in lat. 
68° 3' N. (101 nautic m. from shore), and no ice was seen from the 
brig before the 2nd of May, in lat. 58° 26' n., and 50° 9' w. of 

Further, Captain Knudsen, commanding the Neptune bound from 
Copenhagen to Julianshaab, was obliged on account of falling in 
with much ice, to put into the harbour of Frederikshaab on the 
8th of May, 1852, and was not able to co-ntinuo his voyage to 
Julianshaab before the middle of June, because a continuous ice- 
drift (icebergs as well as very extensive fields) was rapidly carried 
along the coast to the northward. 

Captain Knudsen mentions, that during the whole time he was 
closed in at Frederikshaab ho did not a single day discover any 
clear water even from the elevated points ashore, from which he 
could see about 28 nautic miles seaward. 

Whilst the Neptune was enclosed by the ice at Frederikshaab 
the brig Baldur, on the home passage from Greenland to ( 'o})en- 
hagen (see the foregoing Table), crossed the meridian of Cape 
Farewell the 9th of June in lat. 58° 9' n, (100 m. from shore) in 
clear water, and no ice in sight. 

From the above it is evident that the cuirent from tlie ocean 
around Spitzbergen, running along tlie e. coast of Greenland past 


Cape Farewell, continues its course along the western coast of Green- 
land to the N., and transports in this manner the masses of ice 
from the ocean around Spitzbergen into Davis Strait. 

If the current existed, which the before-named writers state to 
run in a direct line from East Greenland to the banks of New- 
foundland, then the ice would likewise be carried with that current 
from East Greenland : if it were a submarine current, the deeply- 
immersed icebergs would be transported by it; if it were only a 
surface-current, the immense extent of field-ice would indicate its 
course,^ and vessels would consequently cross these ice-drifts at 
whatever distance they passed to the southward of Cape Farewell. 
But this is not the case : experience has taught that vessels coming 
from the eastward, steering their course about 2° (120 nautic m.) 
to the southward of Cape Farewell, seldom or ever fall in with ice 
before they have rounded Cape Farewell and got into Davis Strait, 
which is a certain proof that there does not exist even a branch of the 
Arctic current tchich runs directly from East Greenland towards the 
hanks of Neiofoundland. 

Along the e. coast, and around the southern and south-western 
coast of Greenland, the district of Julianshaab, there is generally a 
much greater accumulation of ice ^ than is the case more northerly, 
on the w, coast, or farther out in Davis Strait, where the ice generally 
is found more spread, and consequently it frequently happens that 
vessels bound to Julianshaab from Copenhagen are obliged first to 
put into some harbour more to the northward, and wait there until 
the ice is so much dispersed round the s. coast that they can continue 
their voyage to Julianshaab. 

In the warmer season, when the ice and snow melt ashore, the 
waters from the different fiords or inlets move towards the sea, and 
drive the ice off the coast in such a manner that there is clear 
water close in shore, through which vessels may be navigated. 
However, continuing gales, according to their direction to or from 
shore, have an influence on the situation of the ice. 

Another proof that the current from East Greenland does not 

* An observation which it is interesting to mention here, and which gives a 
proof of the very little diiference between the temperature of the surface and that 
at some depth, is mentioned in the Voyage of Captain Graah, p. 21. He says, 
" The ."ith of May, 1828, in lat. 57° 35' n", and 36° 36' w., Gr., tLe temperature of 
the sm-face was found 6°-3 (46°-2 Fahr.), and at a depth of 660 feet 5°-5 + E. (■i4°-5 
Fahr.V" This proves that there is no cold submarine current in the place alluded 
to to the s.E. of Cape Farewell. A still more conclusive experiment is recorded 
by Sir Edward Parry in the account of his first voyage, June 13, 1819 ; in lat. 
57° 51' N., long. 41° 5', with a very slight southerly current, the surface tempera- 
ture was 401° Yaht. ; and at 235 fathoms 39°, a difference of only li°.— Ed. 

* Captain Graah, pp. 10, 12, 22, 57, &c., English translation. 


run in a straight line towards the banks of Newfoundland, is also 
derived from the observations of the temperature of the surface 
made on many voyages to and from Greenland. I have noted the 
observations of two voyages in the subjoined map ; ^ one voyage 
by Captain Graah to Greenland, in May, 1828; and the other by 
Captain Holbiill, from Greenland to Copenhagen, in September, 

Captain Graah, who during his researches in Greenland, passed 
two summers and one winter on its eastern coast, between Cape 
Farewell and 65^° lat. N., says that he never found the temperature 
of the sea here higher than 0°-9 + E. (34° Fahr.)' 

Supposing that the Arctic current from East Greenland pursued 
its coursie in a straight line towards the banks of Newfoundland, it 
would be crossed, on the voyages from Copenhagen to the Danish 
colonies in Greenland, between 88° and 45° w. Gr., and so high a 
temperature in the surface of the ocean as from 4° to 6° E. (41° to 
45°'5 Fahr.), as is found on this route and marked in the plan 
would, according to my opinion, be impossible, only 1° or 2° to the 
southward of the parallel of Cape Farewell ; as it is a well-known 
fact that the principal ocean currents maintain their temperatures 
through very considerable distances of their courses. 

This comparatively high temperature of the surface of the ocean 
so near to the limits of that current which carries enormous masses 
of ice from the ocean near Spitzbergen round Cape Farewell, war- 
rants my opinion that the waters of the Atlantic Ocean move in a 
N -westerly or northerly direction, towards the eastern and southern 
coasts of Greenland,^ and that this in-draught towards the land 
is undoubtedly the cause of the ice being so closely pressed on to 
these parts of the coast as it is so frequently on the s. coast, and 
almost constantly on the E. coast, rendering the eastern coast 
entirely inaccessible from seaward,* 

' Tliis map is not found in the Society's ' Journal.' 

^ (jtraah say«, " The temperature of the sea was frequently observed during 
the whole voyaj^e, and was always found between 28"^ and 34" Fahrenheit. 

3 Graah says in his Narrative (p. 23, English translation),-" In the mouth of 
Davis Strait I found tlie temperature of the surface of the ocean from 4° to B°-I It. 
(4F to 30° Fahr.y, though we were in the proximity of the ice. From this I 
concluded that a current from tlie South predominated here, because I never before 
in thr^ vicinity of ice had found the temperature of the water exceeding l°-8 R.^ 
(3(r Fahr.), and tlii.s eonclu.-ion was confirmed wlicn, coming to the northward of 
the ice, I found the tcmperatun; of the water P-1 +R. (3t"-.") Fahr.)" 

* Besides the evidence alfordc^l by the ice-drifts and the temperature! of the 
water, as cited by the authoi-, conclusive proof (.f a northerly set is found in tiie 
driftwood which lias been so frequently met with around (Uipe Farewell and oil' 
tlie w. coast of Greenland. A few exam|)ies will mtticv. A plank of mahogany 
was drifted to Disco, and formed into a table for the Danish governor at llolntein- 
borg ('Quarterly Review,' No. xxxvi.). Admiral Lowenorn picked up a worm- 


The logbooks which I have examined afford no positive infor- 
mation as to the direction and force of the current under con- 
sideration — a circumstance which must be attributed to the fre- 
quency of fogs and gales of wind, which prevent correct observations 
being made.^ 

From the foregoing it seems to me to be demonstrated that the 
current from the ocean around Spitzbergen, which carries so con- 
siderable masses of ice, after it has passed along the e. coast of 
Greenland, turns westward and northward round Cape Farewell, 
without detaching any branch to the south-westward, directly towards 
the banks of Newfoundland. 

This current afterwards runs northward along the s.w. coast of 
Greenland until about lat. 64° n., and at times even up to Hol- 
steinborg, which is in about 67° n. 

This current undoubtedly afterwards, by turning to the west- 
ward, unites with the current coming from Baffin and Hudson 
Bays, running to the southward on the western side of Davis Strait 
along the coast of Labrador, and thus increases that enormous 
quantity of ice which is brought towards the s, to Newfoundland 
and further down in the Atlantic Ocean, frequently disturbing and 
endangering the navigation between Europe and Northern America. 

eaten mahogany log off the s.e. coast of Greenland. These in all probability were 
transported from the s.w. by the Gulf-stream. Captain Sir Edward Parry, in his 
second voyage, September 24th, 1823, picked up a piece of yellow pine quite 
sound, in lat. 60" 30', long. 61° 30' w.; and on his tliird voyage seven pieces of 
driftwood were found in the vicinity of Cape Farewell. Again, Captain Sir Jolni 
Ross found much driftwood around Cape Farewell ; and Captain Sir George 
Back saw in lat. 56° 50', long. 36° 30', a tree with the roots and bark on. These 
instances might be multiplied, but their character indicates a southern origin. — Ed. 

^ Sir John Ross, in his first voyage. May 23, found the current to run 6 m. per 
day to the w.n.w. in lat. 57° 2' and long. 43° 21' w. (or about 168 m. s. of Cape 
Farewell), and n.w. when 140 m. s. by w. of the Cape. 

Sir Edward Parry, on June 19, 1819, when 130 m. due w. of Cape Farewell, 
found its direction and velocity to be s. 50° w. 6 m. per diem. — Ed. 

( lOo ) 



And on the Indications of Open Water, &c., from Beiiring to 
Bellot Stkaits, along the Coasts of Arctic America and 
Siberia, including the Accounts of Anjou and Weangell, 


Ix undertaking that part of the Arctic manual which has been 
assigned to me by the Council of the Royal Geographical Society, 1 
feel that I am to a gi-eat extent occupying a portion of the Arctic 
Sea which can be of little importance to the present expedition. 
Yet there is no doubt that the influence which the Pacific Ocean 
exercises on the motion of the ice should be considered in the present 
attempt to reach, the Pole. I have, therefore, first endeavoured to 
give an account of the diff'erent voyages by which the exploration 
of this area has been carried forward, and then to summarise the 
result. I then purpose to give a short account of the descent of 
the Mackenzie, the Coppermine, and the Back Rivers, together 
with the exploration of the coast in boats and birch-bark canoes 
and the voyages of the Investigator and Enterprise. These, it is to 
be hoped, will enable the reader to form a correct judgment respect- 
ing the state and the movement of the ice in the Polar Sea from 
New Siberia to Bellot Strait. 

In 1725 the Russian Government dispatched an expedition 
through Siberia to the sea of Ochotsk, which they occupied two 
years in reaching. They there built and launched the vessels, 
which, proceeding to the north, discovered St. Lawrence Island, 
and eventually reached the latitude of 67° 18' n. How the Com- 
mander, in attempting during a second expedition to carry his explo- 
rations over to the American Continent, and how, by persevering 
to his uttermost, he came by his death, cannot find a ]ilaco here ; 
but we who are able to appreciate the diificnlties he had tu encounter, 
glory to think that the title of Bohring is handed down to posterity 
by the name so justly given to the sea and the strait which separate 
the continents of Asia and America. 


Beginning with a short resume of Cook's voyage in this vicinity, 
I then take up the Eussian explorations, which, from their inte- 
resting character, bearing as they do so directly on the important 
question of the Polynia or open sea, I have found great difficulty in 
comprising within a small compass. I then give a short account of 
the valuable and instructive voyage of the Blossom, under Captain 
Beechy. A general historical account of the expeditions in search 
of Sir J. Franklin, by way of Behring's Strait, follows. These I 
have endeavoured to render as short as possible, with the exception 
of the part taken by the Enterprise, which has been given more at 
large, under the impression that it may be the means of preserving 
information that might (as has been the case in other voyages) pass 
away without a knowledge of the value that notes daily made have 
upon future researches. 

Some observations have been collected from Mr, Whymper's 
interesting narrative of his adventures in this sea, which I have little 
doubt will prove useful. 

Some extracts from the correspondence of the American whale- 
fishers have been added, which will elucidate the change in the 
position of the ice in different years. 

In collating the general information with which I sum up this 
portion of the work, I have had recourse to official documents as 
well as publications by private individuals; but I am especially 
indebted to two officers who have spent five seasons in this neigh- 
bourhood. One I regret to say is no more; but the valuable 
information collected by Dr. Simpson will leave a regret that he was 
not spared to carry further the extent of his ability : the other is 
Captain Hull, at present Assistant-Hydrographer, who, after three 
summers spent in Behring Sea in the Herald, returned with Com- 
mander Maguire and passed two winters in the Plover at Point 


In the instructions issued by the Admiralty to Captain Cook, when 
proceeding on his third voyage in July, 1776, the following para- 
graphs appear : — " Upon your arrival upon the coast of New Albion, 
you are to put into the first convenient port to recruit your wood 
and water and procure refreshments, and then to proceed north- 
ward along the coast as far as latitude 65°, or farther, if you are 

not obstructed by lands or ice When you get that length, 

you are very carefully to search for and to explore such rivers or 


iulets as may ai)pear to be of considerable extent, and pointing 
towards Hudson or Baffin Bays." 

" In case you shall be satisfied that there is no passage through 
to the above-mentioned bays sufficient for the purpose of naviga- 
tion, you are at the proper season of the year to repair to the port 
of St. Peter and St. Paul, in Kamschatka, or wherever else you 
shall judge more proper, in order to refresh your people and pass 
the winter; and in the spring of the ensuing year, 1778, to proceed 
from thence to the northward, as far as in your prudence you may 
think proper, in search of a north-east or north-west passage froui 
the Pacific into the Atlantic Ocean or North Sea." 

In accordance with these instructions, the Resolution and Discovery 
sailed from Oonalashka on July 2nd, 1778, and upon the 9th of 
August reached Cape Prince of Wales, which was then pronounced 
by Captain Cook (as it eventually has been proven to be) the 
western extremity of all America hitherto known. The ships then 
proceeded to the north, and reached the edge of the ice in lat. 
70^ 41' on August 17th, naming the farthest point on the American 
shore Icy Cape. They then visited the Asiatic side of the Straits 
and discovered Cape North. The ships bore up on August 29th, 
and after making farther explorations on the American shore south 
of Cape Prince of Wales, returned to Oonolashka on October 2nd. 
The following are Captain Cook's remarks after visiting the jmck 
in a boat : — " I foimd it consisting of loose pieces of various extent, 
and so close together that I could hardly enter the outer edge 
with the boat, and it was as impossible for the ships to enter it as 
if it had been so many rocks. I took particular notice that it was 
all pure transparent ice, except the upper surface, Avhich was a little 
porous. It appeared to be entirely composed of frozen snow, and to 

have been all formed at sea The pieces of ice that formed the 

outer edge of the field were from 40 to 50 yards in extent to 4 or 5, 
and I judged the latter pieces reached 30 feet or more under the 
surface of the water." 

The following year the ships left the harbour of St. Peter and 
St. Paul on June 13th. At noon on the 6th of July, in lat. 67°, 
large masses of ice were fallen in with ; on the 8th, in lat. 69° 21', 
they were close to what appeared from the deck solid ice. On 
the 18th of July they reached 70^ 26' n., and were close to a firm 
united field of ice. By stretching over towards the American 
Continent they reached 70° 33', the farthest northern point attained 
this season, when, finding it impracticable to get any farther. 
Captain Clerke determined to expend the remainder of the season 
in endeavouring to find an o[)ening on the Asiatic coast. Jn d(jing 


so the Discovety was beset in the ice in lat. 69°, when she was 
drifted to the north-east at the rate of half a mile per hunr, and 
was so much damaged, that after in vain attempting to get to the 
north between the ice and the land, Captain Gierke, on Jtdy 23rd, 
determined to proceed to the southward, and reached the harbour 
of St. Peter and St. Paul on August 24th. 

Bussian Explorations East of the Biver Kolyma. — In the year 1762- 
the Eiver Kolyma was descended by Schalarov, and the coast ex- 
plored as far as Cape Chelagskoi. In the same year Sergeant- 
Andrejew discovered the Bear Islands. 

Hedenstrom, who explored the coast of Siberia between the years 
1808 and 1811, makes the following remarks : — " The shores of the 
Polar Ocean from the Lena to Behring Strait are, for the most 
part, low and flat, rising but little above the level of the sea, that 
in winter it is difficult to tell where the land terminates. A few 
wersts, however, inland a line of high ground runs parallel with 
the present coast, and formerly, no doubt, constituted the boundary 
of the ocean. This belief is strengthened by the quantity of 
decayed wood found on the upper level, and also by the shoals 
which run out far to sea, and are probably destined at some 
future period to become dry land. On these shoals during the 
winter lofty hummocks of ice fix themselves, forming a kind of 
bulwark along the coast, and often remaining there during the 
whole summer without melting. The nearer the Arctic shore is 
approached, the more scanty and diminutive the trees become. 
Beyond 70° neither trees nor shrubs are met with. 

In the year 1786 Billings built two boats— one 45 feet and the 
other 28 feet long— at Jassaschnaon the Kolyma, and left the 
entrance of the river in them on June 27th. The ice frequently com- 
pelled them to run into bays, and take shelter under headlands. On 
July 1st they attempted to sail to the north, and were not able to 
get more than 20 miles from the shore when " the whole sea, as far 
as the eye could reach, being covered with immense masses of ice, on 
which the waves broke with tremendous violence," they were obliged 
to tm-n back. Constant ice and frequent fogs impeded them so 
much, that they did not pass the Great Baranov Eock before July 
19th. Eleven miles further they came to ice hummocks aground in 
16 fathoms water, when, it being impossible to go further, they 
returned to the mouth of the Kolyma on July 26th. 

In 1788 Billings sailed from Avatska and put into St. Lawrence 
Bay, where the Tchutskis told him the sea was covered with such 
quantities of ice that its navigation was impracticable. He there- 


fore relinquished his plan of sailing to Cape Chelagskoi, and de- 
termined to proceed by land. Eeturning in the ship to Mctchigme 
Bay, he commenced his journey on reindeer sledges to Koliutchen 
Bay. Sending his companion Gilew in a Tchutski baidar with 
orders to survey the coast from East Cape to Koliutchen Island, 
Gilew followed the coast to East Cape, where the ice was pressed 
so closely on the shore that he was compelled to drag the baidar 
across a narrow neck of land. He then fullowed the coast until 
within 90 miles of Koliutchen Island, when the Tchutski refused to 
go any further. Fortunately he fell in with a tribe of reindeer 
Tchutski, who conducted him to Koliutchen Bay, where he met 
with Captain Billings. After surveying the shores of this bay, 
Billings proceeded with the Tchutski to the first Eussian settle- 
ment on the Aniui (a tributary of the Kolyma), where he arrived 
on February 17th. Speaking of the Tchutski land as barren in the 
extreme, he says, " before July there is no symptoms of summer, 
and on the 20th of August the winter sets in." 

Baron Wrangell reached the mouth of the Kolyma on February 
21st, 1821, temperature 26°, loading of each sleigh 1000 lbs. Leaving 
on the 22nd, the Great Baranika was reached on the 27th, where 
great quantities of drift-wood were found. At Chelagskoi Kess on 
March 5th ice hummocks were 90 feet high. They then proceeded 
40 miles east of Cape Chelagskoi, and returned to Niznei Kolymsk 
on March 14th, having been absent twenty-two days, and travelled 
over 650 miles. 

With eight men, besides dog-drivers, 240 dogs, and twenty-two 
sledges, carrying thirty days' provisions, he left the mouth of the 
Kolyma on March 26th, temperature -f- 21° F. At a mile from the 
shore they came to a chain of ice hummocks, and a wide fissure 
in the ice. After three hours' labour they got through the hum- 
mocks, and came upon an extensive plain of ice, broken only by a 
few scattered masses ; at noon on the 28th, in lat. 69° 58' n., numerous 
traces of foxes going in the same direction as ourselves. March 
29th, temperature -|- 14°, at 4 p.m., reached the Bear Islands: an 
appearance of open water to the n.n.w. There was a much greater 
quantity of drift-wood on the north tlian tlie south side of the 
islands. March 31st, wind north-east, temperature -f- 7° a.m. -f- 14 
P.M., came upon sharp grains of seasalt; snow more soft and damp; 
fog so moist as to Avet our clothing. Camped under a wall of ico 
30 feet high. Thickness of ice 3i feet ; lat. 70° 53' n. 

April 1st. — Thermometer -j- 23 a.m. -|- 7 p.m. After pursuing a 
N. by E. course for 14 miles tracks of foxes were seen, and the ice 


hummocks contained earth and sand. Travelling difficult ; seven 
hours in accomplishing 19 miles. 

April 2nd. — Wind north-west; snow; temperature + 18; course 
N. by w. Many hummocks ; ice 1 foot thick ; three seals seen ; 
depth of water 12 fathoms; green mud. Camped in lat. 71° 31' N. 

April 3rd. — Thermometer -j- 1 6°, fox-tracks from w.s.w. to e.n.e. 
Ice onl}^ 5 inches thick, and very rotten. Felt the undulatory 
motion under the ice; lat. 71° 37'. 

April 4th. — A gale from the north; temperature -)- 16°. Pro- 
ceeded northerly with two sleighs ; reached lat. 71° 43'; ice so rotten 
that we were compelled to return. The hummocks are sometimes 
80 feet in height. 

April 5th. — Wind s.s.e. ; temperature -|- 9 a.m. -(- 7 p.m. ; in 
lat. 70° 30'. 

April 6th. — Wind south-east ; temperatiire -f- 1 8 a.m., and — 2 p.m. ; 
ice agitated, and in the north-east loud noise of ice crushing 
together; lat. 71° 15'. 

April 7th. — Wind east ; temperature -(- 5 a.m. — 6 p.m. ; in 
lat. 70° 56'. April 8th. — \\ ind south ; temperatuie 0. Came upon 
a wide fissure ; ferried across on a floating block of ice. Current 
half a knot in an e.s.e. direction; depth of water 12i^ fathoms; ice 
violently agitated, opening in various directions ; lat. 70° 46'. On 
April 13th reached lat. 71° 4', where eight dogs fell through the 
ice into the water. Eeturned to Four Pillar Island on the 18th, and 
to Niznei Kolymsk on the 28th, having been absent thirty-six days, 
and have travelled 700 miles with the same dogs. 

In 1822 Baron Wrangell left Niznei Kolymsk on the 10th of 
March, with five travelling and nineteen provision sledges carrying 
provision for forty days. The Baranov Eock was reached on the 
14th, and on March 23rd the thermometer rose to -|- 35° in lat. 
70° 42' and 1° 50' E. of Baranov Eock. On April 9th, in lat. 71° 51' 
and 3° 20' B. of Baranov Eock several fissures were met with, in 
which a depth of 1 4^ fathoms green mud was found. Here the 
ice hummocks prevented the heavy-laden sleighs proceeding further ; 
a light sleigh proceeded 6 miles to the north, when all progress was 
stopped by the complete breaking up of the ice and a close approach 
to the open sea. On the 19th, in lat. 71° 18' and 4° 36' e. of 
Baranov, a depth of 21 fathoms was found, with a rather strong 
current running to the e.s.e. On the 22nd Cape Chelagskoi was 
sighted, and they returned, on May 5th, to Kiznei Kolj^msk, having 
been absent 57 days and travelled over 782 miles. 

In 1823 Baron Wrangell left Baranika on March 5th and reached 


Cape Chelagskoi on the 8th. Here the first Tchutski were met, who 
told them the native name for the cape was Erri, and the name of 
Cape North Ir-kai pi, and " that between these capes, from the top 
of some cliffs near the mouth of the river, one might, in a clear 
summer's day, descry snow-covered mountains at a great distance to 
the north, but that in winter it was impossible to see so far." (This 
is the first notice of the land afterwards discovered by Capt. Kellett, 
in the Herald.') He had been told by his father that a Tchutski had 
once gone there in a ' baidar,' and he thought the northern land was 

On the 10th the journey was continued; several large heaps of 
whalebone were seen, but very little drift-wood ; on arrival at 
Schalarov Island (which is called Amgaoton by the natives) an 
attempt was made to go to the north, but on the 21st, in lat. 70° 20' 
N. and long. 174° 13' e., they were compelled to return, "the hum- 
mocks now becoming absolutely and entirely impassable," and a 
break in the ice was fallen in with, extending east and west 
farther than the eye could reach and 150 fathoms across at its 
narrowest part. The current was running 1^ knot to the eastward, 
depth of water 22^ fathoms, in lat. 70° 51', long. 175° 27' E. " Frag- 
ments of ice of enormous size were thrown by the waves with awful 
violence against the edge of the ice-field." The coast to the eastward 
was then followed, and habitations of the Tchutski as well as drift- 
wood found, " which, in all probability, is of American origin ; 
eventually Cape Korth was reached on April 11th. 

The shores of the Bay of Anadyr are inhabited by a people 
distinct from the Tchutski in figure, countenance, clothing, and 
language, called Onkilon or Sea People ; there are traditions that 
two centuries ago the Onkilon occupied the whole coast from Cape 
Chelagskoi to Behring Strait, ^\'hales are particularly abundant 
in the neighbourhood of Koliutchen Island. 

On May 1st Cape Chelagskoi was reached, and Baron 
^Vrangell returned to Niznei Kolymsk, after an absence of 78 
days, having accomplished a distance of 1327 miles, or 17 miles per 

M. Von Anjou took his departure from the north-west end of 
Kotelnoi (the west island of New Siberia), on April 5th ; at a short 
distance from the shore it was found necessaiy to open a path 
through the ice hummocks by crowbars; at 20 miles from tlic 
island they had 15 fathoms mud; in lat. 76° 38' n. they found 17 
fathoms, and " the near vicinity of the open sea forbid further pro- 
gress." They then crossed over to Fadojevskoi Island, from whence 
"dense vapours" are seen, indicating the vicinity of the open sea. 


The expedition then crossed to the eastern island of the group, which 
they reached on the 18th, and saw "to the north the open sea with 
drift-ice." At Cape Eaboi " the ice appeared unbroken." 

In 1822 M. Von Anjou left Svatoi Ness on April 10th, reached 
Leakhow Island on the 12th, and Kotelnoi on the 18th ; following 
the east coast, the north extremity was rounded, from whence they 
attempted to go north, but were stopped by thin ice ; proceeding 
easterly along its edge, land was seen to the s.s.w., which proved 
to be a low island to which the name of Figurin was given. On 
its shores " were drift-wood of larch, traces of bears and grouse, and 
old nests of geese were found." They afterwards went 15 miles n.w. 
by N., across large hummocks, when their progress was again arrested 
by thin ice ; here they had 10 fathoms sand ; at last they came to 
open water, in which, *' though the wind was westerly," the pieces 
of ice were drifting from east to west. The sledge drivers were of 
opinion "that this current was the ebb tide, the regular six- 
hourly return of which they had noted." 

They then went 60 miles in a north-easterly direction from Cape 
Kaimenoy, when the thinness of the ice stopped them, and they 
had a depth of 15 fathoms mud. 

They reached Niznei Kolymsk on May 5th. 

Baron WrangelVs Bemarks. — The fur-hunters, who visit North 
Siberia and Kotelnoi Island every year and pass the summer there, 
have observed that the space between these islands and the con- 
tinent is never completely frozen over before the last days in 
October. In the spring the coasts are quite free by the end of 
June. Winter hummocks are frequently 100 feet high. The great 
Polynia, or that part of the Polar Ocean which is always an open 
sea, is met with about 4 leagues north of New Siberia, and from 
thence, in a more or less direct line, to about the same distance 
off the continent between Cape Chelagskoi and Cape North. 
During the summer the current between Svatoi Ness and Koliutchen 
Island is from east to west, and in autumn from west to east. North- 
west winds prevail in the spring. The inhabitants of the north coast 
of Siberia generally believe that the land is gaining on the sea, 
and this belief is chiefly founded on the quantity of long withered 
drift-wood which is now to be met with on the tundras and in the 
valleys 20 miles from the present sea-line, and decidedly above its 

The Biirik, under the command of Lieutenant Von Kotzebue, 
arrived off Behring Island on June 20th, 1816. He landed on 

K0TZ1i:BUE, LUTKE, BEECHEY—' blossom's ' VOYAGE. 113 

St. Lawrence Island on the 27th, reached Cape Prince of Wales 
on the 30th, and discovered Kotzebue Sound on August ls.t. 
After exploring it he returned to the south on the 19th. An 
account of this voyage, in three volumes, was published in London 
in 1821. 

Captain Lutke, in command of the corvette Le Seniavine, visited 
Behriug Strait in the years 1828 and 1829. To him we are indebted 
for some valuable charts of the coast of Asia between the 53'' 
and 65^ of lat. A narrative of this portion of the voyage will be 
found at C^hap. XL vol. ii., and from pages 17 to 56 in vol. iii. of the 
account of the voyage, which was published in Paris in 1835. 

Voyage of the ' Blossom.' — The Blossom left the harbour of St. Peter 
and St. Paul on July 5th, 1826. On the 18th, when off St. Lawrence 
Island, a current was found to be setting to the north-east, three- 
quarters of a mile per hour. On the 20th, the Diomede Isles were 
reached, and Kotzebue Sound on the 22nd. Leaving that place on 
the 30th, the current off Point Hope was found to be superficial, 
i.e., not extending 12 feet below the surface; but at the surface it 
attained a rate in a westerly direction of 3 miles per hour. In the 
evening it slacked to 1^ miles. On the 8th of August Cape Lis- 
burn was reached, and the edge of the pack was fallen in with in 
lat. 71'' 8' X. on the 13th. The barge, under the charge of Mr. Elson 
was sent to the northward on the 1 7th, and the Blossom returned to 
Kotzebue Sound on the 28th. The barge arrived here on the lOth 
of September, having reached Point Barrow in 71° 23.^'. In re- 
turning she was driven on shore by the pack ; but the wind coming 
round to the s.s.E., she made her escape with much difficulty. The 
ice at Point Barrow was aground in 4 fathoms water, and was 
14 feet above the level of the sea. On the 13th of October the 
thermometer fell to 27°, and the edge of the sound began to freeze. 
The Blossom proceeded to sea and reached the Aleutian Islands 
on the 22nd. 

In the year 1828 the Blossom left St. Peter and St. Paul Harbour 
on July 18 th. In crossing over to the American shore the tempera- 
ture was found to be 21° higher. The ship arrived at Kotzebue 
Sound on the 5th of August. Leaving on the 16th, the pack-edge 
was reached on the 18th in lat. 70° 6', or 24 miles south of its 
position on the 1 3th of the same month last year. On October 4th 
the thermometer fell to 25° in Kotzebue Sound. Tlie ship left on the 
6th, and reached the Aleutian Islands on the 14th. The following 
are Captain Beeehey's remarks on the currents in Behriug Strait : — 
" It does not appear from oui- passages the sea of Kanis- 



chatka that any great body of water flows towards Behring Strait. In 
one year the whole amount of current from Petropaulowski to St. 
Lawrence Island was s. 54°, w. 31 miles, and in the next N. 50°, w. 51 
miles, and from Kotzebue Sound to Oonemak n, 79°, w. 79 miles. 

" Approaching Behring Strait tbe first year with light southerly 
winds, the current ran north 16 miles per diem; and in the next, 
with strong south-west winds, north 5 miles ; and with a strong 
north-east wind, N. 34°, w. 23 miles. By this it appears that near 
the strait, with southerly and easterly winds, there is a current to 
the northward, and with northerly and north-westerly winds there 
is none to the southward; consequently the preponderance is in 
favour of the former. 

" To the north of Behring Strait the northerly current is more 
apparent. It was first detected ofi" Schischmaroff Inlet ; it increased 
to between 1 and 2 miles per hour off Cape Krusenstern, and arrived 
at its maximum 3 miles per hour off Point Hope : this was with 
the flood ; with the ebb it ran w.s.w. half a mile per hour. 

" Off Icy Cape the current appeared to be influenced by the winds. 
Near Point Barrow it ran at the rate of 3 miles per hour and 
upwards to the north-east, and did not subside immediately with 
the wind ; but the current here must have been accelerated by the 
pack closing in on the beach. 

" It is a curious fact that the margins of the ice between America 
and Asia, Europe and Greenland, lie as nearly as possible in the same 
direction, viz., south-west and north-east, and that the navigation on 
the west shores is impeded in a much lower latitude than the eastern. 

" Near Icy Cape, south and west winds occasioned high tides ; 
north and east, low ebbs. The tide rises about 2 feet 6 inches at 
F. and C, and the flood comes from the southward. 

" From St. Lawrence Island there appears to be a current running 
to the north of about three-quarters of a mile per hour." 

Expeditions in Search of Sir John Franhlin. — H.M.S. Herald, Captain 
Kellett, arrived at Petropaulski on August 14th, and at Kotzebu 
Sound on the 1st of September, where she remained until the 29th. 

The Plover, Commander Moore, left Honolulu on August 25th, 
reached the island of St. Lawrence on October 13th, went into 
harbour near Tchutski Ness in lat. 64° 20' and long. 173° 15' w. 
on the 25th, and was permanently frozen in on November 18th. 

On June 13th a clear lane of water enabled the ship to put to sea, 
and she arrived at Chamisso Island, Kotzebue Sound, on July 14th. 

The Herald joined the Plover in Kotzebue Sound on July 15th, 
and in company with the Nancy Dawson (Captain Shedden's yacht). 


proceeded to sea on the 18tli. On arriving at Wainwiight Inlet 
the boats were dispatched from the ships on the 2oth instant, and 
Lieutenant Pullen, in command of them, reached Point Barrow on 
August 4th, in company with the Nanci/ Daioson. After seeing the 
boats fairly off on their route to the Mackenzie Eiver, Mr. Shedden 
rejoined the Herald in Kotzebue Sound. 

The Herald reached her northernmost lat. 72° 51' n., in long. 
163^48' w., on July 29th, and on August 17th an island was dis- 
covered, with a long range of high land beyond it. Captain Kellett 
thus describes the landing on the island : — " We reached the island, 
and found running on it a heavy sea. The First Lieutenant, 
Maguire, landed, having backed his boat in until he could get foot- 
hold. I followed his example ; others were anxious to do the same, 
but the sea was so high I could not permit them. We hoisted the 
jack and took possession in the name of Her Majesty." " The 
extent we had to walk over was not more than 30 feet, from which 
we collected eight different species of plants." " The island is 
about 4^ miles in extent east and west and 2^ north and south, in 
the shape of a triangle, with the west end as the apex." " It is 
almost inaccessible on all sides, and a solid mass of granite." " In- 
numerable black and white divers here found a safe place to deposit 
their eggs : not a walrus or seal was seen either on the shore or the 
adjoining ice, and none of the small land birds." 

Speaking of the land to the north Captain Kellett says : — " It 
becomes a nervous thing to report a discovery of land in these 
regions without actually landing on it, after the unfortunate mistake 
to the southward; but as far as a man can be certain, who has 
130 pairs of eyes to assist him, and all agreeing, I am certain we have 
discovered an extensive land." The Herald returned to Kotzebue 
Sound on the 1st of September. 

The Plover, Commander Moore, passed the winter of 1 849-50 in 
Estcholtz Bay, Kotzebue Sovmd, and he thus describes the breaking 
up of the ice in the spring : — " As the bay cleared a little, giving 
the ice more play, the ship became much hampered, requiring the 
utmost vigilance to prevent her being pushed high upon the beach 
or overwhelmed with the pressure of floe upon floe, frequently 
depending upon her safety upon anchors and cables ; and when the 
former, losing their hold in the ground, allowed her to drive, they 
still had the effect of keeping the stem to the pressure to which I 
conceive her safety was owing. On the 25th of Juno the ebb-tide 
of both morning and evening thus forced the ship on the ground. 
The floes, 3 to 4 feet in thickness, rising along the inclined plain 
of the cable, then splitting to the distance of several hundred feet 

I 2 

116 ' PLOVER,' ' herald; 'INVESTIGATOR,' 'ENTERPRISE,' 1850. 

ahead, were crushed beneath the stem or thrown outwards off the 
bows; then passing astern, piled in broken masses, 12 or 15 feet in 
height, along the shore of the bay." The Plover left Kotzebue 
Sound on July 17th and proceeded to the northward, leaving the 
ship off Wainwright Inlet on the 23rd, in two boats. Captain 
Moore reached Point Barrow on the 27th, and went round it as far 
as Dease Inlet, and returned to Grantly Harbour, Port Clarence, on 
the 30th, where she passed the third winter. 

The Herald left Oahu on the 24th of May, 1850, and reached 
Kotzebue Sound on the 16th of July; and upon the 31st fell in 
with the Investigator off Cape Lisburne, and returned to Port Clarence 
on the 4th of Septembei'. 

The Investigator left Oahu on July 4th, passed through the Aleu- 
tian chain of islands on the 20th, and reached Cape Lisburne on 
the 29th. Entered the ice in lat. 72° 1' N., and long. 155° 12' w., 
and at midnight on August 5th rounded Point Barrow in 73 fathoms 
water, 10 miles from the land. They got into open water on the 
American shore on the 7th, and landed at Port Drew on the 8th. 

The Enterprise left the Sandwich Islands on June 30th, and passed 
through the Aleutian chain of islands on July 28th, East Cape 
was reached on August 12th, the total set of the currents in the 
intervening fifteen days being N. 49°, E. 127 miles. 

Proceeding north, the following table will show the daily position 
of the ship at noon, and the current experienced in each 24 hours : — 


August 13 

„ 11 

„ 15 

„ 16 

„ IV 

„ 18 

.. 19 













N. 60° W. 19 miles. 

N. 21° E. 35 „ 

S. 83° E. 7 „ 

N. 3° W. 13 „ 

N. 28° W. 8 „ 

W. 9-4 „ 

N. 10 „ 

Passing Point Hope, Cape Lisburne, and Wainwright Inlet with- 
out seeing anything of the Herald, Investigator, or Plover, the Enterprise 
got up to the ice on the 16th, and pushing through some brash ice 
entered an open lane, trending north-east and south-west, 10 miles 
wide, up which she proceeded until she had gained a position north- 
east by north 100 miles from Point Barrow, and had 45 fathoms 
depth of water-mud. Here her progress was barred, and after 
searching in vain for any opening on the southern side, she was 
on the 21st within 30 miles of the land, without a prospect of 

' ENTERPRISE,' 1850-51. 117 

reaching it. The ice hummocks here were frequently found to 
be 25 feet above the sea, and on one or two instances as much as 
30 feet was seen ; but this was the greatest height. Hero no 
bottom with 60 fathoms was found, and the temperature of the sea 
rose to 40^. Seeing there was no hope of progress in this lane, the 
ship's head was turned to the southward, having traced the pack in 
a south-easterly direction for 145 miles fi'om lat. 72° 45' and long. 
159° 5' w., with no signs of opening to east or south-cast. Further 
progress to the eastward was considered impracticable this season. 

Eeturning to the south, the southern edge of the pack was found 
on August 27th to be 20 miles to the southward of where it was 
on the 16th. Eounding it a lane of open water was found trending 
E.N.E. and W.S.W., up which we proceeded, reaching at length lat. 
73"^ 23', in long. 164^ 4' w., where the pack-edge, both to the east and 
west, trended southerly, leaving no hope of further progress to the 
north or east. 

Point Hope was reached on August 31st, and Port Clarence on the 
2nd of September. On the 14th the Enterprise again proceeded to 
the north, and remained cruising between Cape Lisburne and Icy 
Cape until the 30th, when the thermometer fell to 18°, and the ice 
formed so rapidly as to interfere with navigation. We returned 
to Port Clarence on the 2nd, and visited Fort Michailowski, in 
Korton Sound, on the 16tla of October, where Lieutenant Bernard, 
Mr. Adams, assistant-surgeon, and Thomas Cousins, A.B., were 

Leaving Hongkong on the 2nd of April, 1851, the Enterprise touched 
at the Bonin Islands on the 28th, passed through the Aleutian chain 
on May 24th, and fell in with the pack in lat. 62° and long. 179° E. 
on June 1st. Boring through the pack. Cape Behring was seen 
on the 11th. On the 18th three baidars came off to the ship from 
Cape Atchene, which was 8 miles distant. Cape Prince of Wales 
was sighted on the 25th, but owing to the quantity of ice in Behring 
Strait, Port Clarence was not reached until July 4th. The whole 
length of the passage was 41 days, of which 28 were passed in the 
pack. The position by account differs from that by observation N. 
54° E. 264 miles, or 6^ miles per day. Leaving Port Clarence on 
July 12th, Wainwright Inlet was reached on tlie I'.lth, and on the 
20th the ship was beset in the pack off the Seahorse Islands, when 
the following currents were experienced : — 





Set of Current. 




( 1 A.M. 

N. by E. 


July 20th. 

I Noon. 

N.E. by E. 


( 4 P.M. 



1 2 A.M. 

N.E. by N. 


17 fms. 

July 21st. 

j 8 A.M. 



IS fms. 

j Noon. 

N. tone. 


15J fms. 

( 10 P.M. 



July 22nd. 

j Noon. 



Lat. 71°-1'. 

} 4 P.M. 

E. by N. 


Long. 158^-03'. 

( Midnight. 

N.E. by E. 


20 fms. 

July 23rd. 
Lat. 71° -09'. 

' 4 A.M. 


E. by N. 
N.E. by E. 


Set of the cur- 

Long. 157° -37'. 

4 P.M. 

N.E. by E. iE 



rent while round- 




ing Point Bar- 
row in the pack. 

July 24th. 

2 A.M. 


E. by E. 


Lat. 71° -12'. 

4 P.M. 



Long. 156°- 51'. 

8 P.M. 






( 2 A.M. 



16 fms. 

8 A.M. 



25 fins. 

July 25th. 


N.E. by E. 


Lat. 71° -27'. 

2 p.m. 



Long. 156°- 12'. 

6 P.M. 

N.E. by E. 


14J fms., sand. 

10 P.M. 



13 fms., sand. 




July 26th. 

, 10 A.M. 



Lat. 71° -31'. 


N.E. by E. 


32 fms. 

Long. 151° -50' 

2 P.M. 



24 fms. 

Drifting past 

• 8 P.M. 

N.E. by E. 


lU fms. 

Point Barrow 

10 P.M. 



13 fms. 

in the jjack. 




During the 27th, the ice opened at times, permitting us to make 
a little progress, nor could we perceive any current. 

Throughout the whole of the 28th, we remained immovable, 
except for an hour about noon, when we managed to warp her 
through one or two holes, the depth of water varied from 13 to 11 
fathoms mud. On the ice which was much broken up were many 
shells (Nymphacea), which at first were thought to have been 
brought there by birds : but, eventually, we came alongside a floe, 
on which were three large stones (greenstone, 30 to 50 lbs. weight) : 
therefore the mass we were alongside of, and which was surrounded 
by ice as far as the eye could reach from the crow's nest, had been 
in contact with the shore this season : the nearest land was 10 miles 
distant. The ship remained alongside the stones the whole of the 
29th, In the afternoon the current, which for the last twenty-four 
hours had been imperceptible, took a south-easterly trend. On the 

'PLOVER,' 1852. 119 

30th, Point Barrow boro south-west by south, and there was open 
water to the south, not more than 3 or 4 miles distant, which we 
succeeded in warping into at 3.40 p.m., and, working between the ice 
and the shore, reached Port Tangent at noon on the 31st. The 
length of the passage from Cape Prince of Wales to Point Barrow 
is 13^ daj's, during which we were 4^ days beset in the pack. The 
total amount of current in the same time is N. 73° E. 172 miles, or 
12*7 miles per day. 

H.M.S. Dcedalus, Captain Wellesley, after encountering much 
difficulty with the ice in the neighbourhood of St. Lawrence Island, 
reached Port Clarence on July 15th. The Plover, after receiving 
supplies, proceeded north, but, finding the pack very far south, 
returned to her winter-quarters in Port Clarence on the 28th of 
August, the Dcedalus leaving for the south on the 1st of October. 

The Amphitrite, Captain Frederick, with Comm''- Maguiro and a 
fresh crew for the Plover, arrived at Port Clarence on the 30th of 
June. Leaving on the 12th, Comm"^ Maguire proceeded to the 
north, and went up to Point Barrow in the boats, when a rapid 
survey of the harbour was made, and suflScient depth of water for 
the Plover was found, he returned to that vessel, and succeeded 
in placing her in winter-quarters at Point Barrow on the 21st 
of August, and was frozen in on the 24th of September. Before 
being frozen in he succeeded in his boats in searching the coast to 
the eastward as far as the Eeturn Reef of Franklin, 

The Plover did not get clear of her winter-quarters at Point 
Barrow until the 7th of August, and on the 11th of the same 
month fell in with the Amphitrite, Captain Frederick, and, after ■ 
replenishing her provisions, returned to Point Barrow on Septem- 
ber 7th. In attempting to prosecute the search easterly, an armed 
body of Indians of the Koyukun tribe were met with, and were so 
hostile that he was compelled to return ; otherwise ho would, in all 
probability, have reached the Enterprise, which vessel was stopped 
by the ice in Camden Bay, about 80 miles from the furthest point 
reached by him. 

The Plover cleared her winter-quarters on July 19tb, and, having 
received fresh supplies from H.M.S, TnncomaZee, returned to Point 
Barrow on August 28th, being in no way impeded by the ice. The 
same evening the Enterprise arrived from the southwaid. This 
latter vessel, which had wintered in lat. 70"^ 8', long. 145° 29' w., 
245 miles to the eastward of Point Barrow, where she was beset on 
September 16th, and frozen in on the 2Gth in the pack in Camden 
Bay, 4 miles from the shore. 

On the 10th of July the whale-boat of the Enletprise under the 

120 ' ENTERPRISE,' 1854— WHYMPER, 1865-66. 

command of Lieutenant Jago was despatched from her to Point 
Barrow, at which spot she arrived on the 24th. The ice broke up 
sufficiently to admit of the ship being moved on the 15th, and she 
reached Point Barrow on the 8th of August : Point Hope on the 
10th ; but, owing to the prevalence of southerly winds and a strong 
northerly current, did not arrive at Port Clarence until the evening 
of the 21st, when we communicated with the Battlesnake, and found 
that the Plover had sailed for Point Barrow two days previously. 
After receiving some supplies, the Enterprise left for Point Barrow 
on the afternoon of the 22nd. On the 28th we made the ice in lat. 
71°-0 and long. loO'-O w., and reached Point Barrow the same after- 
noon, and, after communicating with the Plover, returned to Port 
Clarence on September 8th, the Plover arriving on the following 
day. Both vessels left for the south on the 16th. 

In the course of the years 1865 and 1866 expeditions were 
equipped by Americans at San Francisco with the view of laying 
down a telegraph-cable across the continents of Asia and America. 
Mr. Whymper, who accompanied the expedition, has published an 
interesting account of his explorations, from which a few extracts 
have been made, as they bear on the ice movement. 

In 1865 soundings were taken across Behring Sea between the 
64° and QQ° of latitude, when the bottom was found to be very 
even, with an average depth of 19^ fathoms. 

In 1866 Mr. Whymper left Petropaulowski on August 6th, and 
reached Plover Bay on the 14th, where 14 men were left to pass 
the winter. Leaving Plover Bay on the 20th, Norton Sound was 
reached on the 24th. The ice in Norton Sound forms early in 
October, but is frequently broken up and carried to sea. On 
Christmas eve all the ice was blown out of the bay. In the spring 
the bay was not clear of ice until the third week in June. 

He then proceeded overland to the Kwipak or Yukon Eiver, and 
spent the winter at Nulato (the Eussian fort where Lieut. Barnard 
was killed in 1851). Nulato by the river is 600 miles from its 
mouth ; opposite the Fort it is li mile wide, and occasionally opens 
out into lagoons 4 and 5 miles across. The ice began to move on 
the river opposite the fort on April 5th, and on May 19th was 
rushing past at the rate of 5 or 6 miles per hour, bringing with it 
a large quantity of drift-wood, and rising 14 feet above its usual 
level. On the 26th Mr. Whymper left Nulato and, ascending the 
river 600 miles, reached Fort Yukon on June 23rd, which he 
estimates to be in latitude 66° N. This is the Hudson's Bay post to 
which the Eat Indians brought a communication from Comm"^ 
Maguire, with whom they fell in with near the mouth of the 


Colville. They afterwards came on board the Enterprise just as she 
was on the point of leaving her winter-quarters in Camden Bay in 
1854. The fort was established in the year 1847. Mr. Whymper 
left the fort on his return on July the 8th : the current sometimes 
carryiug him 100 miles in 24 hours, they arrived at Nulato on the 
loth, and on the 23rd entered the northern mouth of the river (the 
Aphoon), and reached Behring Sea the same afternoon. 

The Kwipak, or Yukon, empties itself into Behring's Sea through 
five mouths, all of which are shoal, and extend from lat. 62^ to 
63° 25'. The Eussian boats from Michaelowski usually occupy 
35 days in ascending the river to Nulato; but that post can bo 
reached in 5 days from the head of Norton Sound by travelling 

Extract from a letter from Captain Long to H, M. Witney, Esq., 
dated Honolulu, November 5th, 1867 : — 

" Wrangell Land was first seen on the evening of the 14th of August, 
and the next day at 9.30 a.m. the ship was 18 miles distant from the 
west point .... which was found to be in lat. 70° 46' and long. 

178° 30' E The lower parts of the land were entirely free 

from snow, and had a green appearance as if covered with vege- 
tation Near the centre, or about long. 180°, there is a moun- 
tain which has the appearance of an extinct volcano : by approxi- 
mate measurement I found it to be 2480 feet high The 

south-east cape, which he named Cape Hawaii, was found to be in 

lat. 70° 40' N. and long. 178° 51' w From long. 175° to long. 

170° E. there were no indications of animal life in the water. It 
appeared almost as blue as it does in the middle of the Pacific 
Ocean, though there was but from 15 to 18 fathoms in any place 
within 40 miles of the land." 

Captain Long thinks a propeller might readily have steamed up 
north on the west or east side of this land ; and he believes it to be 
inhabited. According to his track-chart he made Cape North on 
August 2nd, sailed along the Asiatic continent, passing close to 
Cape lakan on the 4th, and reached Cape Chelagskoi on the 9th. 
On the 10th the furthermost western point was obtained in long. 
170° 30' E. and lat, 70° 45' N. 

Captain Eodgers, in 1855, reached the 72° of latitude in long. 
174° 40' w,, afterwards, returning southerly, ho passed between 
Wrangell Land and Capo Jakan, having a depth of 25 fathoms 
water, and reached long. 176° 40' E. in lat. 70° 45' N. 

Extract of a letter from Captain Craynor to Mr. Witney, dated 
November 1, 1867:— 

" On my last cniize I sailed along the south aud east side of 


Wrangell Island for a considerable distance three separate times, 
and once cruized along the entire shore I made the south- 
west cape to be in n. lat. 75° 20' and b. long. 178° 15', and the 
south-east cape in lat. 71° 10' and long 176° 40' w The cur- 
rent runs to the north-west from 1 to 3 knots per hour. In long. 
170° 10' w. we always find the ice-barrier from 50 to 80 miles 

further south than we do between that and Herald Island 

In such shoal water the currents are changed easily by the wind." 

Captain Long, in a letter dated January 15th, 1868, thus sum- 
marises his opinion of the currents in Behring Straits : — 

" The currents here have been found variable : in the spring and 
summer the current is always found setting towards the north; 
in the autumn and winter months, from information derived from 
natives of the coast and whalers that have wintered in Plover 
and St. Lawrence Bays, the current is found setting towards the 
south. The barque Gratitude was wrecked in lat. 82^° N." (? 72^° n.), 
" long. 168°, about 40 miles from Cape Lisburn, in the early part 
of July, 1865, was seen in the month of August near Herald Island, 
170 miles in a n.n.w. direction from the position in which she was 

" The Ontaria was wrecked in September, 1866, in lat. 70° 25', 
and during the following winter was seen by the natives drifting 
through Behring Strait to the south, and was afterwards seen on 
shore in lat. 64° 50' n. 

The following account of the wreck and abandonment of the 
whaling fleet off Wainwright Inlet, in September 1871, is taken 
from the ' Hawaiian Gazette : ' 

" The fleet passed through Behring Straits between the 18th 
and 30th of June. In July the main body of the ice was found 
about lat. 69° 10', with a clear strip of water running to the north- 
east along the land. In the second week in August most of the 
ships were north of the Blossom Shoals, and some as far as Wain- 
wright Inlet. Here they remained fishing until August 29th, 
when a south-west wind set the ice inshore very fast, and at length 
the ships were all jammed close together. On September 7th the 
barque Boman was crushed by the ice like an eggshell, in forty-five 
minutes, and on the 8th the barque Awaslionks was crushed. On 
the 9 th the weather was calm, and the water around the ships froze 
over. Not having provisions to last over three or four months, a 
meeting of the Masters was held on the 13th, when it was deter- 
mined to abandon the ships, which was done at 4 p.m. on the 14th, 
and reached the barques Arctic, Midas, and Progress, on the 16th ; 
the distance traversed in the boats being about 70 miles. In all, 


thirty-one vessels were either cnishod or abandoued, and seven 
vessels were saved. 

Dr. Simpson's BemarJcs. — " Through the large opening between the 
American and Asiatic continents, occupied by the Aleutian Islands, 
there is an almost imperceptible set from the Pacific Ocean north- 
wards, the waters of which, retaining the impulse given them by the 
earth's rotation in a lower' latitude, draw towards the American 
shores, and throw themselves into Norton Bay. They are thence 
driven with increasing force along the coast of America opposite the 
island of St. Lawrence, diffusing themselves to the north of that 
island to be carried with lessened speed through the Straits of 
Behring, after receiving in the latter part of their course the fresh- 
water stream falling through Grantly Harbour into Port Clarence.' 
Spreading again over a larger space, they receive a further tribute 
from Kotzebue Sound, which is very palpable off Port Hope. 
Again in the latitude of Icy Cape the earth's rotation gives them 
an easterly set, forming an almost constant current along the north 
coast of America to Point Barrow, whence it pursues a direction 
north-east. Throughout all this course the current is subject to 
retardations, and even surface-drifts in an opposite direction, caused 
by northerly and north-easterly winds, but it is also accelerated 
by southerly and south-westerly gales." 

" In the beginning of the summer the eastern side south of the 
straits is free from ice, and Norton Bay itself is usually cleared as 
early as April. After the middle of June not a particle of ice is 
to be seen between Port Spencer and King's Island ; whilst the 
comparatively still water north of St. Lawrence Island is hampered 
with large floes until late in July." 

" This can be satisfactorily accounted for by the existence of a 
northerly current partly driving and partly throwing the ice down 
from the American shores. There is scarcely a particle of drift- 
wood to be had on the Asiatic coast from Kamschatka tq East Cape, 
whilst abundance is to be found in Port Clarence and Kotzebue 
Sound, as well as along the whole American shore from Norton 
Bay to Port Barrow. 

" Although it has been found that pine-trees 60 inches in girth 
grow here on the banks of the American rivers, within the 
67th parallel of latitude, yet from the frequently larger size of the 
trunks and their great abundance, it is evident these northern 
regions, including Norton Bay, cannot supply the quantity : and 
more southern rivers, whether Asiatic or American, or both, must 

' Dr. Simpson was not aware of tlio importance of the River Yukon. 


be looked to for the numerous multitude of water-worn stems and 
roots strewed almost everywhere along the beach. Their southern 
origin would also seem to be indicated by the presence in many 
of them of the remains of the Teredo navalis, which could hardly 
retain life throughout the rigour of eight or nine months' frost every 
year." It would seem that between St. Lawrence Island and the 
coast of Asia the current is variable, and seldom entirely free 
from ice until late in July ; hence the many disasters to whalers 
in 1851, and the difficulties the Dcedalus and Enterprise encountered 
the same season by taking the westward passage, whilst an open 
boat from the Plover was able, between the 17th of June and the 
1st of July, to make the run to Michaelowski in Norton Bay and 
back without her crew seeing any ice." 

" The Amphitrite in 1852 was able to reach Port Clarence on the 
30 th June by the eastern passage without seeing but one floe, 
which had probably been recentl}^ released from some of the nooks 
in Norton Bay : although late in the same month the master of a 
M^haling ship reported that the ice was still fast as low as lat. 
58° and 60° between the longitude of Gore's Island and the coast of 

" To the northward of Cape Prince of Wales the warm water is 
always found on the American coast. From frequent observations 
the temperature of the water near East Cape was found to be 35°, 
while that near Cape Prince of Wales was 53°. The cold current 
sets south along the coast of Asia." 

" From recorded observations it appears that the coast from Icy 
Cape to Point Barrow is frequently packed with ice in the end of 
July and the beginning of August. The cause of this seems to 
be the occasional prevalence of westerly and north-westerly winds, 
which drive the pack upon the coast, again to be cleared away by 
the north-east current along shore as soon as these winds have 
spent their force : and southerly and south-east winds will have 
the opposite effect of driving it in a more northerly direction, and 
leave the navigation more open than usual. At Icy Cape the 
current on Captain Beechy's chart is marked running both ways 
along shore, but not, it is presumed, with the regularity of a regular 
tidal ebb and flow. During the continuance of an easterly gale 
from the 29th of July to the 5th of August, and a fresh breeze 
following for two days at that cape, floating substances were 
observed to drift slowly to leeward, whilst the waves were short, 
irregular, and much more broken than usual, to a distance of 12 
miles off, as if caused by a weather-current. This may, however, 
be partly owing to the shoals extending 4 miles off the land. On 


the 3rd, a whaling vessel stood within 6 miles of the shore, tacked, 
and stood out again, making such progress to jj'indward as a sailing 
vessel could only do when favoured by a strong weather-current." 

" From Icy Cape to the Seahorse Islands, in addition to drift-wood, 
there is strewed along the beach a quantity of coal, which, though 
much water-worn, may, in some of the indentations, be collected in 
sufficient abundance, and bituminous enough to make an excellent 
fire for cooking. It is of the sort called candle-coal, and some of 
the pieces are sound enough to be carved by the natives into lip 

" At the Seahorse Islands it is found as fine as small gravel, and, 
on digging into the beach, is seen to form alternate layers with the 
sand ; but between Wainwright Inlet and Icy Cape it is gathered 
in knots of a convenient size for fuel. This may be taken as a 
farther evidence of the set of the current, as the nearest kno'svii 
point whence the coal is brought is that marked on the chart as 
Cape Beaufort. The whole extent of the coast from below Icy 
Cape to Point Barrow is bordered by a beach of gravel, which has 
likewise a southern origin, and determines the form of the con- 
tinent, ofiering as it does an efiective barrier to the encroachment 
of the sea, which would otherwise speedily undermine the earth- 
cliffs behind. All that can be seen from the seaboard landward is 
a flat, alluvial plane, seldom exceeding 20 feet in elevation, and 
containing numerous pools and lagoons of fresh water, but without 
a tree or bush to relieve the view." 

" The tides are hardly appreciable and very irregular at Kotzebuo 
Sound and Port Clarence ; there the sea usually retains a very low 
level during the prevalence of northerly, north-easterly, and easterly 
winds, and the highest levels occur with southerly and south- 
westerly gales. During a stay of seven days at Icy Cape, with a 
prevailing gale at east and e.x.e., the same low-water level obtained 
as much as 4i feet below the highest surf-mark, the undeniable 
effects of westerly and south-westerly winds. With the drifted 
material left on those marks where the shore has a westerly aspect 
were several varieties of dead shells, identical in species with those 
previously dredged from the bottom of the sea in deep water, 25 
to 30 fathoms in the straits and north of them." 

It will be seen by the foregoing abstracts that the navigation of 
the Arctic Sea between Behring Straits and Point Barrow is com- 
paratively easy to vessels fitted for ice- navigation. The current of 
warm water from the PaciBc sets continually to the north-east 
throughout the summer months, and forms a lane between tlie pack 
and the land which enabled the Blossom's barge, ou August 2l8t, 


1826, to reach Point Barrow, Mr. Shedden, in a schooner-yacht 
of 140 tons, rounded Ihe Point on August 4th, 1849. 

The Investigator, Comm"'- McClure, on August 5th, 1850. 

The Enterprise, Captain Collinson, on August 20th, 1850. 
„ „ „ on July 25th, 1851. 

The Plover, Comm'^- Maguire, on August 20th, 1852, 

and wintered there, being frozen in on September 24th. 

The Plover left her winter quarters on Aiigust 7th, 1853. 

Eeturned to „ • „ on September 7th, 1853. 

Left again her „ „ on July 19th, 1854. 

Eeturning to her „ „ on August 28th, 1854. 

Enterprise returning from the eastward, 

Eounded the Point on August 8th, 1854. 

And returned from Port Clarence on August 28th, 1854. 

The season of 1854 was, undoubtedly, the most open, the ice 
being so far from the Point that the whaling ships were enabled to 
fish off it. 

The season may be considered to be open from the beginning of 
July to the middle of September. The pack is usually met with 
off Icy Cape, and should westerly winds have prevailed and forced 
the pack into the shore, a vessel will do well to wait until the 
wind subsides, when the current will be sure to open the lane 
between the land and the pack. Easterly winds check the current, 
and, after a continuation of them, there is a set alongshore to the 
southward. Some natives got adrift in the ice in 1853, and were 
carried by this set to the southward of Icy Cape, the land being 
always in sight. 

In both years the Plover wintered at Point Barrow. The ice 
round the Point was broken up, and swept to the northward by 
south-westerly gales. At times no ice could be seen from the mast- 
head. In 1853 this disruption occurred in December, and caused 
the water to rise 3^ feet above the highest spring-tide. The tem- 
perature at the same time rose to-|- 30^ F. In January, 1854, the 
same thing occurred, the thermometer on this occasion rising to 
-|- 27°. During both winters a water-sky to the north-west was 
generally observed from the ship, unless after a long continuance of 
north-westerly winds or calm weather. There is but little rise and 
fall of the tide, 0'7 inches being the average. With fine weather 
or easterly winds they were very regular, but a south-west gale 
upset them altogether. 

Eskimo whale-fishing commenced on May 7th, 1853, the open 



water being 4 miles from Point Barrow, extending in an e.n.e. 
and w.s.w. direction, with a depth of 10 fathoms water. 

Between the 4th and 7th of Jul}' about thirty oomiaks, carrying 
about 150 people, went to the eastward. The ship swung to her 
anchor on July 25th, and the ice was in motion in the offing on 
July oOth. 

An abstract from the Plover s log, which I have to thank Staff- 
Comm"' Hull for, shows the number of days in each month that open 
water, as well as a water sky, was seen from that vessel during the 
two winters spent at Point Barrow. In 18^2-53, open water was seen 
on twenty-seven days between October and April, and in 1853-54 
on seven days only, whilst the indication of open water occurred 
during the same period in 1852-53 on fifty-seven days, and in 1853-54 
on sixty-two days. December, January, and February appear to 
be the months during ^which the ice is more frequently in motion. 

It will be, perhaps, advisable here to introduce the tables of 
monthly temperatures taken from Dr. Simpson's paper. 










Sept. . 


+ 12- 

+ 28-9 

+ 41- 

- 3- 


Oct. . 



+ 8-9 

+ 14- 


- 0-8 

Nov. . 

+ 25 


- 7-8 

+ 22- 


- 7-4 

Dec. . 

+ 28 


- 8-7 

+ 7- 



Jan. . 

+ 10 






Feb. . 

+ 3 



- 3- 










April . 

+ 33 


+ 3-8 

+ 26- 


+ 1-6 

May . 


- 6' 

+ 18-5 


- 3- 

+ 20-5* 

June . 

+ 45 

+ 17- 

+ 32-1 

+ 47- 

+ 24- 

+ 32-8 

July . 

+ 52 

+ 26- 

+ 35-4 

+ 51- 

+ 28- 

+ 37-2 



• +31- 


+ 48- 

+ 29- 

+ 39-1 



•3 -142 

+ 7-2 

+ 28-7 


+ 5-7 

It is remarkable that, though the winter of 1852-53 was warmer 
than the ensuing one, the Plover was detained by the ice in her 
winter-quarters until August 7th; whereas in 1854 she made her 
escape to the southward on July 23rd, and the ico during the 
summer was so far off the Point, that the whale-ships fished olF it. 
The temperatures observed on board the Enterjmse, which vessel 
wintered in the pack 245 miles to the eastward, in 1853-54, are 
given for the sake of comparison. 






of Ice on 
the 1st. 

April . . 
May .. 
June . . 
July .. 

+ 20 

- 4 

- 5 
+ 16 
+ 19 
+ 46 


+ 26 


+ 0-6 


- 9-6 












+ 23-0 


+ 32-4 


+ 37-5 












On July 10th the water along the coast was sufficiently open to 
send the whale-boat to Point Barrow. On the loth the ice broke 
up, which was three days earlier than at Point Barrow. The ship 
left Camden Bay on the 20th, but, owing to obstruction by the ice, 
did not reach Point Barrow until the afternoon of August 7th. 

In comparing the monthly temperatures of Camden Bay and 
Point Barrow, the increased temperature at the latter place is very 
perceptible, and is, no doubt, occasioned b}' the open water. Neither 
open water nor water-sky was seen from Camden Bay. In the 
month of April an attempt was made to go north from the Enter- 
prise with three sleighs; but on the second day the hummocks 
were found to be impassable. One sleigh utterly broke down, and 
several accidents from severe falls rendered it necessary to give up 
the attempt and return to the ship. The snow-drift on these hum- 
mocks lay in continuous ridges east and west, indicating that no 
dislocation of the ice had taken place during the winter. 

The condition of the ice north of the American continent affords 
a remarkable contrast with that on the Asiatic shore, where year 
after year open water is found all the way fi-om Kotelnoi Island to 
North Cape, a distance nearly 1000 miles. Here, instead of a 
compact pack, which in the neighbourhood of Point Barrow is 
occasionally moved off the shore and brought back by the force of 
the wind, but which appears to remain perfectly quiescent along 
the coast to the eastward, the water, for some reason or other, is pre- 
vented from freezing, and the traveller is continually brought to a 
stop by the thinness of the ice or open water itself. This water, 
on referring to Baron \yrangeirs and M. Von Anjou's Journals, 
will be found to be always in motion, and remarks such as follows 

On the 15th, 6^3 inches. 


are found in their Journals : — " Current A a knot in an e.s.e. direc- 
tion." " Strong current running E.S.E." *' Oft' Schalarov Island, 
current running 1^ knot to the eastward." " Though the wind 
was westerly the pieces of ice drifted from east to west ; the sledge- 
drivers were of opinion that this was the ebb tide, the regular six- 
hourly return of which they had noted." 

It will be seen on reference to the meteorological register kept 
on board the Enterprise, where the thickness of the ice was mea- 
sured on the first of every month, that the thickness increased 
up to June 1st, the mean temperature of the month of May 
being -|- 23^. The change in the character of the ice cannot there- 
fore be ascribed to the temperature of the atmosphere, but will 
probably be found due to the motion of the water. These Polynias, 
or open spaces of water, have since been fallen in with to the 
north of Grinnell Land and in the upper portion of Smith Sound, 
and they were seen by Lieutenant Payer in the recent voyage 
of the Tegethoff, as far north as the 82° of latitude. It is to be 
noted that the open water on the Siberian coast occurs in com- 
paratively shallow water under 20 fathoms, whereas in the neigh- 
bourhood of Point Barrow the water deepens with great rapidity. 

Nativk Names for Some Places bktwee>j the Mackenzie R]ver 
AND Point Hope. 

The Mackenzie, Imna (?) 

Village betweeu it and Point Kay, Pe-ock-cha. 

Point Kay, Te-kee-ra. 

Keef East of Herschel Island, Ke-yuk-ta-zia. 

Herschel Island, Ke-yuk-ta-hue. 

Barter Island, Koo-na-miaou. 

Fisliing-station this side, Ac-hut. 

Village visited hy us in tlie aiitunm, Noo-na-ma-luk. 

Village about? miles s.e. by e. from 1 ^f,^,^,^^.^ 

ship, j 

Komanzoff chain of hills, Chud-loo-o-sak. 

Canning Kiver, Kook-Voak. 

Flaxman Island, Kapa-gill-lok. 
Between Point Barrow and Flax-1 ^, „ 

rii;iii Island, ) "^ 

I'oint Barrow, Noo-wook. 

Beyond Point Barrow, Ot-kia-mik-miot. 

Northern stream between Refuge"! /i^./-, 7,, 

Inlet and Cape Smyth, / ^'^' 

Cape Smyth, Noo-oo. 

Kefuge Inlet, Noo-nahoo or Jl-lip-»u. 

Inlet south of it, Too-na-mut. 

Cape Lisburn, Te-ga. 



Village between Cape Dyei- andi ri'„^_^f 

Gape Lisburn, / 

Village north of Asses' Eais, Ka-vm-due. 

Point Hope, Noo-na. 

Icy Cape, Vl-ron-nu. 

Wainwright Ink t, Kvrj-ru-ah. 


On passage from Poit Clarence to Point 1 '.arrow, encountered the ice off 
Icy Cape, but found no difficulty in reaching Point Barrow, where we anchored 
on the 3rd September. 


4. A heavy N.W. gale brought in the pack. 
9. An easterly wind cleared off the same. 
13. Pack returns with a N.W. wind. 
15. Pack cleared out by a southerly wind. 
20. N.W. winds bring the pack in. 

22. Open sea beyond the ground hummocks at 5 miles N.W., true, of Point 

26. Frozen in. 

21. Open water 5 miles from Point Barrow, 

27. [Water Skv.— S.W. to N.N.E. 


Hwater Sky.— S.W. to N.N.E. 

7. Open water within 3 mile of Point Barrow. 

8. Water Sky.— W. S.W. to N.E. 
10. Water Sky.— S.W. to N. 

!;!• IWater Sky to the N.W. 


Water Sky seen for 9 days in November. 


JHwater Sky.— W.S.W. to E. 


15. [Water Sky.— S.W. to N.W. and N. 


17. Break up of the ice with a heavy S.W. gale. Thermometer + 30° Fahr. 

From this date until the 1st of January the sea may be said to have been 
open for another southerly gale. On the 28th took all the young ice out 
to sea. 

5 days Water Sky, and ojien watei- on IG days in December. 




1. A few hummocks in sight. 

2. Sea freezino; a^aiu. 
5. Water Skv^— W. to N.E. 










^g [water Sky.— S.W. to N.E. 

29 J 

Water Sky seen on 16 days in January. 

• Water Sky.— W. to N.E. 


4. Water Sky.— N.W. to E. 

q' [Open water seen from Point Barrow. 

9. Water Sky.— W.N. W. to N.N.E. 
12. Ice packed heavily oa W. side of Point Barrow, piled to the height of 
20 feet. 

^Hwater Sky.— W.S.W. to N.N.E. 


20.[0pen water again seen from Point Barrow, after a strong easterly gale. 


23. 1 

^g- Water Sky.— W. to N. 


Water Sky seen on 9 days, and open water on 5 days in February. 


1. Water Sky.— W. to N. 
7. \ 



Water Sky.— W. to N.E. 

Water Sky seen on 8 days in March. 


3. Water Sky.— W.S.W. to N.E. 
7. Water Sky.— N. to N.E. 

K 2 





26. ) Water Sky.— W. to N.E. 





Water Sky seen on 11 days in A])ril 


HWater Sky.— N.W. to N.E. 

^■[Open water seen from Point Barrow after strong easterly winds. 

to [Water Sky continuous. — N.W. to E. 

Water Sky seen on 25 days in May. 


2 J Water Sky.— W.N.W. to N.E. 


to Water Sky.— W. to N.E. 

Water Sky seen on 11 days in June. 


9. Boats left for the open water. 
10. Open water seen from ship. 
24. Sbip free from ice, but pack close in to the Point. 

30. The grounded hummocks off Point Barrow moved to the N.E. 

31. Open water off Cape Smyth, south of Point Barrow. 


7. Pack left the land : Plover left Point Barrow. 

8. Beset in Peard Bay ; current running N.E. 

9. Cleared the pack off Cape Franklin. 


31. On return to Point Barrow met the pack 15 miles north off Icy Cape 
current setting N.E. 


to > Beset ofi Refuge Inlet. 

6. Cleared the pack, but again beset off Point Barrow, and carried to the 
N.E. at the rate of 2 miles an hour. Succeeded in getting alongside of a 
grounded hummock. 

7. Cleared pack, and anchored in Point Barrow. 
16. Frozen in. 
25. Inshore waters frozen ; but open sea from Point Barrow. 


J J* ]; Water Sky.— W. to N.E. 

14. ' 

Water Sky seen on 8 days in October. 

22. [Water Sky.— N.AV. to N.E. 

Water Sky seen on 3 days in November. 


7. Water Sky.— W.N. W. to N.E. 

8. Great pressure of ice on outer spit ; ice forced up 22 feet. No appa- 
rent cause. Wind S.W. and calm. 


> Water Sky.— N.W. to N.E. 


r'y' [Water Sky.— N.W. to E.N.E. 


Water Sky seen on II days in December. 


3. [Water Sky.— N.W. and N. 

12. Heavy S.W. gale taken out tlie ice from the Point. 

13. Open water from ina:;t-head as far as C"uld he seen. 

14. Ditto (lu. Temperature + 28" Fahr. 

15. Sea freezing. 


•16. Open water off Point Barrow. 

Jglwater Sky.— N.W. to E. 

■>[ce piled to the height of 30 feet on the spits S. of Point Barrow. 
Water Sky seen on 12 days in January, and open water on 4 days. 



24. [Water Sky.— N.W. to E. 
• 25. 

27.' pP™ 

water seen from the grounded hummocks near Point Barrow. 
Water Sky seen on 5 days in February. 


^•IWater Sky.— N. toE. 

e.JWaterSky.- W. toE. 

12. Captain Maguire walked to the edge of the shore floe, about 10 miles to 
the N.W. of Point Barrow; found the ice in the open water to be setting 
slowly to the eastward. 

20. ' 



I Water Sky from N. to E. 

Water Sky seen on 13 days in March. 





) Water Sky— N.W. to N.E. 

Water Sky seen on 17 days in April. 
Water Sky was seen all May. Officers away with natives whaling. 



13. Water only 2^ miles from Point Barrow. Loose ice on that day 
moving slowly to the southward. Water Sky seen all the month. 


All June a Water Sky observed. 


10. Open water at Point Barrow. 

15. Ship free from ice. 

18. General break up. 

23. Plover cleared the pack-ice off Wainwright Inlet. 


19. Plover saileil from Port Clarence to Point Barrow without being in any 
way impeded by the ice. 

30. Sailed South from Point Barrow. 

The above notes, which show the prevalence of open water in the vicinity 
of Point Barrow, where H.M.S. Plover, Commander Rochfort Maguire, 
wintered in 1852-3-4, are copied from that vessel's log-book. 

Uh March, 1875. Thomas A. Hull. 



Between Point Barrow and the River Mackenzie, including the A^oyages 
of the Investiyator and Enterprise to Banks Land. 

Voyage of Mackenzie to the Polar Sea, 1789. — Sir A. Mackenzie, 
attended by a German, four Canadians, and three Indians, together 
with two Canadian and two Indian women, left Fort Chipewyati 
on June 3rd, 1789, in four birch-bark canoes. The Slave Lake 
was reached on the 9th, where they had to remain six days to 
enable the ice to give way. They then entered at the west end of 
the lake the river which now bears tlic name of Mackenzie, and 
eventually reached the Great Northern Ocean on the 15th of July. 
Returning by the same route, the party regained Fort Chipewyan 
on September 12th. 

Captain Franldin^s Second Voyaye, 1825-2(j. — Three boats were 
built at Woolwich for tliis expedition, one of whicli was 20 feet, 
and the two others 24 feet long, and a small vessel, feet loTig, 
4 feet 4 inches wide, wliich weighed only 85 lbs,, and could bo 
made up in five or six parcels. These were forwarded lo York 
Factory in 1824. 


The expedition, consisting of Captain Franklin, Lieutenant Back, 
Dr. Richardson, Mr. Kendall, and Mr. Drummond, witii four marines, 
left Liverpool in February, 1825. Passing tlirough the United 
States and Upper Canada, Fort William, on Lake Superior, was 
reached on May 10th, and the Methye Eiver on June 29th, where 
they joined the boats which had been forwarded from Hudson Bay, 
and arrived at Fort Chipewyan on the 15th of July. Leaving it 
on the 25th, Fort Eesolution was reached on the 29th, and the 
Mackenzie Kiver on the 3rd of August. Quitting Fort Simpson 
on the 5th, they arrived at Fort Norman on the 8th, and Fort Good 
Hope on the 10th, and the Polar Sea on the 16th, and returned to 
Fort Good Hope on the 23rd; arrived at Great Bear Lake on Sep- 
tember 1st: the total distance travelled over from New York being 
5803 miles. 

Passing the winter at Fort Franklin, in lat. 65° 12', long. 123° 13', 
Captain Franklin, accompanied by Lieutenant Back, in the two 
boats which were named the Lion and Beliance, left the Fort on 
June 22nd, 1826, arrived at Fort Norman on the 25th, Fort Good 
Hope on July 1st. The month of the river was reached on the 
7ih. The Eskimo Avere met with, who attempted to pillage the 

Detained b}' the ice, being pressed close on the shore, but little 
progress was made. The rise and fall of the tide was found to be 
about 2 feet. Point Kay was reached on the 15th, Herschel Island 
on the 17th, and Point Demai'cation on the 31st. A black whale 
and several seals weie seen, and the ice was driving with great 
lapidity to the westward. Barter Island was arrived at on the 4th 
of August, and here a musket was left by accident on the beach ; 
this musket was seen at Point Beiens in 1850, by Lieutenant Pullen. 
On the 6th they got to Flaxman Island ; on the 7th and 8th, at Lion 
Eeef, the tide was found to be regular, rising 16 inches. After 
great obstiuction. Point Anxiety was passed on the 16th, when 
iurther progress to the west was found to be impracticable this 
season. Eeturning to the east, Flaxman Island was gained on the 
same day that Mr. Elson, in the barge of the Blossom, leached Point 
P.arrow from Behring Straits, August 22nd, being 160 miles distant 
from Captain Franklin's furthest point. Demarcation Point on the 
24th, Herschel Island on the 26th, and Garry Island, at the mouth 
of the Mackenzie, oh the 29th ; and by aid of the tracking-line, 
Fort Good Hope on September 7th, and Fort Franklin on the 

The distances traversed are as follows ; — 



From Fort Franklin to Point Separation .. ,. 525 

„ Point Separation to Pillage Point .. .. 129 

„ Pillage Point to Eeturn Eeef 374 

„ Eeturn Eeef to Fort Franklin 1020 

Total 2048 

Boat Voyage of Messrs. Lease and Simpson from the Biver Mackenzie 
to Point Barrow in 1837.— Leaving Fort Chipewyan in two clinker- 
built boats of 6 feet beam and 24 feet keel on June Ist, Messrs, 
Dease and Simpson were detained prisoners by the ice at Fort 
Eesolution from the 10th to the 21st; they passed the Hay h'iver 
un the 23rd, and arrived at Fort Simpson on the 28th, and at Fort 
Norman at 10 p.m. on July 1st, having travelled 250 miles in 48 
hours ; and reached Fort Good Hope on the evening of the 4th. 
Starting again on the 5th, Eskimo caches were reached on the 8tl), 
and on the following day the natives themselves were met with, 
and the Arctic Ocean reached. Detained by a north-west gale at 
Shingle Point, Point Kay was passed on the afternoon of the II th. 
The violence of the wind prevented their moving until the 14th, 
when the first regular flow and ebb was observed, and taking 
advantage of the opening in the ice, they passed inside Herschel 
Island. Some bones of an enormous whale were found here. On 
the I5th Demarcation Point was reached. The tide, though insigni- 
ticant, did us good service. Flaxman Island was gained on the 
moruing of the 20th; detained by a gale on the 2Ist and 22nd, 
they reached Eeturn Eeef on the evening of the 23rd. Strong 
gales delayed them at Point Comfort until the 2Gth, when Harrison 
Bay was crossed. At Cape Simpson the tide rose 10 inches. On 
August 1st Mr. Simpson started on foot with five men, each 
caiTying from 40 to 50 lbs. After passing Port Tangent 10 miles, 
they obtained an oomiak from the Eskimo, in which they crossed 
Dease Inlet and gut to Point Christie on the 3rd, and gained Point 
Barrow on the 4th ; thus connecting the discoveries of Beechey with 
those of Franklin, and perfecting the outline of the American con- 
tinent from the 15Gth to the 108th meridian. Eeturning easterly', 
the boats were reached on the Gth. Mr. Dease had ascertained the 
rise and fall of the tide to be 15 inches, and that the flood came from 
the north-west. Demarcation Point was reached on the Ilth, where 
an easterly wind detained them until the 15th ; and it was not until 
the evening of the I7th that Tent Island was reached, 'i'he ascent 
of the Mackenzie was performed almost exclusively by towing, at 

138 rULLEN, 1850-51- 'INVESTIGATOR; 1850. 

the rate of from 30 to 40 miles per day, and Furt Good Hope arrived 

at on tbe 28tli. 

Lieutenant Pullens Boat Voyage from Point Barrow to the Mackenzie 
Biver. — Lieutenant Fallen left the Plover oif Wainwright Inlet on 
the 25th of Jul}", 1850 ; and in company with two other boats, and 
Mr. Shedden's yacht, the Nanci/ Dawson, reached Point Barrow on 
August 2nd. Here the escort left them, and the two boats pro- 
ceeded along the coast. 

Point Fitt was passed on the 7th. 

Cape Halkett „ 9th. 

Point Berens ,, 11th. 

Lion Reef on the 14th. Many seals; rise and fall of the tide 
18 inches; current strong to the west; wind fresh, north-east. 

Flaxman Island on the 16th. 

Manning Point ,, 18th. 

Humphrey Point ,, 20th. Two whales seen. 

Herschel Island „ 22nd. Yellow water. 

Entered the Mackenzie River on the 27th. Tracks of bears, moose, 
and reindeer frequent. 

At Fort Macphevson, September 5th. Arrived at Fort Norman, 
October 6th. The ice in the Mackenzie set fast on November ]2tli. 
Snow-birds arrived on the 24th of Apiil, 1851 ; ducks, May 4th. Ice 
began to break up on May 14th. Left Fort Simpson, July 11th; 
at Fort Good Hope, 16th; Port Separation on the 20th; and the 
Arctic Sea on the 22nd ; Eichard Island, 24t.h ; Cape Dalhousie, 
August 3i d ; and Cape Bathurst, August 10th. Found the ice 
packed close on the shore ; small whales seen. The boats remained 
here imtil the 15th, and on the 30th Captain M'Clure landed here 
from the Investigator. 

Garry Island v/as reached on the 20th. 

Fort Macpherson „ 7th of September. 

Fort Good Hope „ 1 7th 

Fort Simpson ,, 5th of October. 

Voyage of H.M.S. ' Investigator ' from Point Barrow to the Bay of 
Mercy. — The Investigator rounded Point Barrow at midnight on 
August 5th. Reached Point Hrew on the 8th ; Jones Island on the 
11th. Ran on a shoal 8 miles north of Yarboi'ough Inlet on the 14th. 
On the 15th the ice closed in from the north ; anchoied to await some 
favourable change. The ice eased off on the following morning, 
and the ship was warped through a lane 150 yards wide. The 
Pelly Islands were reached on the 21st. The temperatui-e of the 

'INVESTIGATOR,' lS51-r)2. 139 

sea on reacliiiig the coloured water of the Mackenzie rose from 
28° to 39^. On the 30th reached Cape Bathurst, and communicated 
with the natives. On September 6th discovered Baring Land. 
Landed and took possession on the 7th. On the 1 1th the ship was 
beset in lat. 72^ 52', and long. 117° 3'; but the ice continued iu 
motion until October 8th, and the ship narrowly escaped destruc- 
tion several times; on one occasion listing the ship 34°, when 
they were firmly fixed for the space of nine months in lat. 72° 47' x., 
and long. 117' 34' w., 4 miles from the Piincess Royal Isles. Here 
three months' provision and a boat were deposited. On the 21st 
Captain M'Clure started with sleighs, and reached the entrance 
into Barrow Strait, in lat. 73° 30'. and long. 114° 14' w., and thus 
established the existence of a north-west passage. On July 14th, 
1851, the ice opened without any pressure; but the ship was so 
surrounded by it that they were only able to use their sails twice 
until August 14th, when they attained the furthest northern position 
in Prince of Wales Strait, viz., lat. 73° 14' n., long. 115° 32' 30". w. 
Finding the passage into Barrow Strait obstructed by north-east 
winds setting large masses of ice to the southward, which had 
drifted the ship 15 .uiles in that direction during the last 12 hours, 
bore up and passed to the southward of Baring Island. 

August 20th, lat. 74° 27' x., long. 122° 32' 15" w. Have had 
clear water to reach thus far, running within a mile of the coaht 
the whole distance, when progress was impeded by the ice resting 
upon the shore : secured the ship to a large grounded floe-piece in 
12 fathoms. 

August 29th, ship in great danger of being crushed or driven 
ashore by the ice coming in with heavy pressure from the Polar 
Sea, driving her along within 100 yards of, the land for half a 
mile, heeling her 15°, and raising her bodily 1 foot 8 inches, when 
we again became stationary and the ice quiet. 

September 10th. Ice again in motion, and ship driven from the 
land into the main pack, with a heavy gale from south-west. On 
the following day they succeeded in getting clear of the pack, and 
secured the ship to a grounded floe in 74° 29' n., lung. 122° 20' w. 

September 12th. Clear water along shore to the eastward. 
Worked the ship in that direction, with several obstructions and 
narrow escapes from the stupendous Polar ice, until the evening of the 
23rd, when they ran upon a mudbank, having G feet water under the 
bow and 5 fathoms astern ; hove olT without any damage. Finding 
a well-sheltered spot upon the south side of this shoal, ran in, and 
anchored in 4 fathoms, in lat. 74° ('»', long. 117° 54', on the 21l]i, 
and were frozen-in the same evening. 

140 'INVESTIGATOR,' 1852-531. 

On October 4th, Mr. Court was sent to connect the position of 
the ship with the Point reached by Lieutenant Cresswell in May, 
which was distant only 18 miles. He reported open water a few 
miles from the shore. 

On April 11th, 1852, Sir K. M'Clure proceeded to Melville Island, 
and reached Winter Harbour on the 28th, and returned to the ship 
on the 9th of May. 

On Aug-nst 10th, lanes of water were observed to seaward, and 
along the cliffs of Banks Land there was a clear space of 6 miles 
in width, extending along them as far as the eye could reach. On 
the 12th the wind, which had been for some time to the north, 
veered to the south, which had the effect of separating the sea-ice 
from that of the bay entirely across the entrance, but shortly shift- 
ing to the north, it closed again, and never after moved. On 
the 20th the temperature fell to 27°, when the entire bay was 
completely frozen over. During this summer the sun was scarcely 
seen, and Captain M'Clure states in his Journal: "nor do I imagine 
that the Polar Sea has broken up this season." On the 24th of 
September, the anniversary of their arrival in Mercy Bay, the 
thermometer stood at 2°, with no water in sight, whereas they 
entered the bay with the thermometer at 33°, and not a particle of 
ice in it. 

> On April 7th, 1853, Lieutenant Pim reached the Investigator from 
the Besolute ; Captain M'Clure left that vessel on the same day, 
and reached the Resolute on the 19th. 

Lieutenant Cresswell left the Investigator on April 15th, and 
reached the Besolute on May 2nd, and the North Star at Beechey 
Island on June 2nd. 

Sir B. M'Clure's Bemarlcs. — The currents along the coasts of the 
Polar Sea appear to be influenced in their direction more or less 
by the winds, but certainly on the west side of Baring Island there 
is a permanent set to the eastward, at one time we found it as 
much as two knots during a perfect calm ; and that the flood-tide 
sets from the westward we have ascertained beyond a 'doubt, as 
the opportunities afforded during our detention along the western 
shore of this island gave ample proof. 

The prevailing winds along the American shore and in the 
Prince of Wales Strait we found to be north-east, but upon this 
coast from south-south-west to north-west. A ship stands no 
chance of getting to the westward by entering the Polar Sea, the 
water alongshore being very narrow and wind contrary, and 
the pack impenetrable, but through Prince of Wales Strait, 

'enterprise; issi. i4i 

and by keeping along the American coasf, I conceive it prac- 

Voyage of the ' Enterprise.' — After rounding Point Barrow in the 
pack, the Enterprise got into the land-water on July 31st, 1851, tlie 
edge of the pack was foxmd to be in 7|- fathoms of water ; the tem- 
perature of the sea rose immediately from 32'^ to 37°, and reached 
as high as 46^ during the day. Working to the eastward between 
the pack and the shore, whicli was sometimes as little as 3 and 
occasionally as much as 8 or 9 miles wide, as the River Colville 
was approached the colour of the water changed, and the main 
body of the ice was as far as 10 and 12 miles from the land. 
After passing the mouth of the Colville the land-water became 
strewed with large floe-pieces, rendering it difficult to beat to 
windward, and at length on August 5th we were compelled to make 
fast to a floe. 

On reaching Lion Eeef drift-wood was seen on the beach in 
great abundance, the current was here found to run w. by n. (true) 
0*5 per hour. 

Barter Island was passed on the 7th. The main body of the 
ice was found to be pretty close to Point Manning. 

On August 8th the current ran to the n.n.k. 0*5 per hour; great 
difficulty was experienced in steering the ship even with the boats 
ahead. The ice was much farther from the shore, and on the after- 
noon of the 9th we were in 17 fathoms water, and passed through 
a stream of drift-wood trending n.n.av. and s.s.E. The current at 
the surface ran e. by s. (true) 0-5, and at 10 fathoms n.n.e. 0*2 per 
hour. The temperature of the sea rose to 49''. On the 10th, at a 
distance of 28 miles from the land, a depth of 28 fathoms was 
obtained, and the current was found to set w.s.w. 0*7 per hour. 

On the 13th of August Ilerschel Island was seen. Standing off 
shore on the 16th no bottom was obtained with 140 fathoms of line. 
On the 18th several streams of drift-wood were passed through, 
and one tree, 68 feet long, picked up. The edge of the ice trended 
N.N.K. and s.s.w. The current was found as follows : — 

At 2.30 A.M., E. by n. (true) I'O knot per hour. 
At noon, n. by e. ,, 05 „ ,, 
At 5 r.M , s. by w. „ 0-7 „ „ 

On the 20Lh the Pelly Lsles were seen, and two islands to the 
E.N.E., in lat. 69^^ 37', and long. i:;4'' 32', and in lat. 69^ 39', and 
long. 134° 10'. 

142 ' ENTERPKISE,' 1851-52. 

At 6.30 P.M. the current set w. by s. ^ s. 0-6 knot per hour. 

At 11.0 P.M. „ „ w. by s. 0-4 „ 

At 2.0 a.m. 21st „ „ w. by N. 0-3 „ „ 

On the 24th we stood in towards Cape Brown, getting 5 fathoms 
water 2 miles from the beach ; on reaching off 34 miles we could 
trace the pack from e.n e. round by north to s.w. 

On AugiLst 25th' land was seen to the north, and at noon on the 
27th, in lat. 71° 27', and long. 120° 3', land was discovered to the 
eastward. The gulf or strait between the two lands was found to 
be 25 miles wide, with 90 fathoms in mid-channel. 

At 2 A.M. on the 29th we came in sight of islands, and on land- 
ing found a boat and depot of provisions which had been de- 
posited there the previous year by the Investigator. The strait is 
here 4 or 5 leagues wide, with a depth of 50 and 60 fathoms in mid- 

At 2 P.M. ice was seen on either shore of the channel. At mid- 
night we worked up to the edge of the pack and could see round 
both points, but further progress was blocked by floes of ice resting 
on both shores. Our furthest point reached in that direction was 
lat. 73'' oO'-, and long. 114° 35, and to the eastward, 73° 25', and 
114° 14'. The ice was found to be streaming in on both sides of 
the strait. In returning to the southward, the current which had 
aided us in our progress northerl}' through the straits at an average 
of 2 knots per hour, now assisted our return, and is therefore caused 
by the wind. 

On September 3rd Nelson Head was reached ; the cliffs here rise 
very abruptly from the sea to the height of 800 feet, being streaked 
red horizontally, which on landing was found to be occasioned by 
iron ore. At 2i miles from the shore a depth of 117 fathoms was 

On the 7th the packed ice extended from n. by w. to w.s.w., and 
the open water between it and the land so strewed with floes as to 
render navigation difficult. A cairn was erected on an islet in lat. 
72° 52', and long. 125° 24', and we returned to the south, searching 
the coast as we went along for any harbour fit to winter in without 
success, until we reached the entrance of Prince of Wales Strait, 
where a secure position was found in Walker's Bay in lat. 71° 35', 
long. 117° 35', on September 15th. Bay ice made the first week in 
October, but the ship was not finally frozen-in until the 21st. The 

' The Investigator was here on the 14th. 

^ This position is 57 miles from the furthest western point reached by the 
Recta, and is the nearest approach to the accomplishment of the n.w. passage by 

'ENTERPRISE; 1853-54. 143 

Eskimo left us in November aud returned on May 25th. In the 
sledge travelling along the coast of Prince Albert Land drift-wood 
was fallen in with in small quantities until Peel Point was reached. 
On this point tlie ice was piled 30 feet high. The beach, which 
had hitherto been gravel, now became mud intermixed with sharp 
stones, and was upturned by the pressure of the ice. 

The Besolution sleigh. Lieutenant Parkes, started from the head 
of Prince of Wales Sound on May 7th fur Melville Island, and 
upon the following day got among hummocks that rendered 
travelling with the sleigh ver}' difficult ; on the 9th, not being able 
to find a passage for the sleigh, it was left behind in lat. 73° 31'. 
Melville Island was sighted on May 12th, and they landed under 
Cape Providence on May 16th. Lieutenant Parkes travelled along 
the coast towards Cape Hearne, coming across sleigh tracks which 
we now know to have been those of Captain M'Clure, who passed 
along here a fortnight previous. 

On the 17th they left Melville Island, and readied the tent on 
the 21st. 

The ship moved in the ice on July 19th, but was not able to 
leave Winter Cove until A^^gust 5th; and in consequence of the ice 
lesting on both shores we did not lose sight of our winter-quarters 
until the 30tb. After running up to the head of Prince Albert 
Sound, and pruviug it to be a gulf and not a strait, on September 
12th, the Dolphin and Union Strait was entered on the 17th. 

On August 29th, 1853, the Enterprise (having left Cambridge 
Bay on the 9th) arrived at Cape Batliurst.' In passing the entrance 
of the Mackenzie, a much larger quantity of ice was observed 
than had been met with in 1851. On the 2nd it was calm, and 
an easterly set of 1*2 knots per hour was observed. The Pelly 
Islands were passed on the 3rd, and Herschel Island on the oth 
of September. Here we found our progress to the westward 
barred by a close pack resting on the shore. On the 8th, the wind 
changing to the north-east, caused the ice to slacken, and when the 
fug cleared off we found we had been driven back to Point Kay, 
40 miles to the eastward, since midnight of the 5th. After blasting 
a passage through the pack with gunpowder, we succeeded in reach- 
ing Herschel Island a second time on the evening of the 9th. The 
ice resting on the shore caused gieat delay, and we did not pass 
Flaxman Island until the loth, and made fast to a grounded floe 
in 7h fathoms in Camden Bay, lat. 70^ 5', long. 144° 50', on the 
16th, the easterly wind having packed the ice close on Brownlow 

' For the vnjago of tbc; E/f^^ryj/vxe throiii^h t.lif Dolpliin iiiul Fiiion Stmit, sco 
page 1.53. 

144 ' enterprise; 1854. 

Point. On the 2Gth, young ice began to make, and on the 29th it 
was 2 inches thick, and, owing to pressure, cracked. On October 
3rd, the land-water being completely frozen over, sleighs left the 
ship, and found abundance of drift-wood on the beach. 

On May 21st, 1854, pools of water began to make on the flow, and 
on June 19th the communication with the shore was cut oif, except 
by boat. On July 1st, a large party of Barter Island Eskimo, forty- 
one in number, came otf in tlieir kayaks, from whom a paper, printed 
on board the Plover at Point Barrow, was obtained, by which we 
learnt that the Investigator had not been heard of. The ice being 
sufficiently open alongshore on the 10th, the whale-boat under the 
command of Lieutenant Jago was despatched to Point Barrow to 
communicate with the Plover, and instruct Captain Maguire to 
obtain supplies sufficient to enable the Enterprise to return to the 
eastward to look after our consort. 

The whale-boat was obliged to be launched across the ice 
frequently, so much so that on her arrival at Point Barrow her 
garboard stieaks were nearly worn through. She arrived at Point 
Anxiety, July 12th; Point Milne, July 15th; Point Tangent on 
the 22nd, and at Point Barrow on the 24th. The Plover had 
left on the 20th. On July 30th, a sail was seen about 5 miles to 
the south-west, which afterwards pioved to be H.M.S. Battlesnake. 

The ice broke up at the ship on July 15th, and enabled her 
to be moved as far as Point Brownlow, but the ice prevented farther 
piogress, and she was driven back to her winter-quarters on the 
18th by a westerly wind. This was, so far, fortunate, as it enabled 
the Barter Island Eskimo to bring the liat Indians on board, the 
Chief of whom produced a paper, on which was written as fol- 
lows : — 

" Fort Youeon, June 27th, 1854. 
" The printed slips of paper delivered by the officeis of H.M.S. Plover on 
the 25th of April, 1854, to the Eat Indians were received on the 27th of June, 
1854, at the Hudson Bay Company's establishment, Fort Yoiicon. The Rat 
Indians are in the habit of making periodical trading excursions to the 
Esquimaux along the coast. They are a harmless, inoffensive set of Indians, 
ever ready and willing to render every assistance they can to the whites. 

" Wm. Lucas Hardisty, 

" Clerk in Charge." 

The ice prevented the ship making much progress, and it was 
the 26th before Eeturn Eeef was reached. At noon, on the 29th, 
the Point Bariow natives met us. On the 6th, Harrison Bay 
was reached, and the ship arrived at Point Barrow on the 8th 
of August. 


Exploration of the Coast between the Mackenzie and the 
Back Rivers. 

Journey of Samuel Hearne to the Northern Ocean in 1769-70-71-72. — 
After two attempts to get to the northward, in the first of which 
the guides failed him, and in the second he had the misfortune to 
break his quadrant and to be plundered by the Indians, Mr. Hearne 
set out for a third time on December 7th, 1771, with an Indian, 
named Matonabba, as his guide, and on April 8th arrived at a river, 
called by the natives Thelewey-aza-yeth. Here they collected bark 
and wood for the canoes. On May 3rd they arrived at Clowey 
Lake, where the canoes were built, and a large number of Indians 
joined the party to make war on the Eskimo, which Hearne 
endeavoured to dissuade them from. On July 14th, 1771, the 
Coppermine Eiver was reached. On the 17th the Eskimo were 
fallen in with, and being surprised at night, were put to death 
unmercifully, notwithstanding all Mr. Hearne's endeavour to check 
the carnage. On the 18th the mouth of the river was reached. 
After leaving the Coppermine Eiver, a route further to the west 
was taken in order to obtain provisions. On September 3rd they 
arrived at Point Lake, where they camped in the neighbourhood 
of Scrubby Wood. Continuing their course to the south-west by 
slow marches, Athapusco Lake was reached on December 24th. 
After expending some days in hunting beaver and deer, the lake 
was crossed on January 9th, 1772, and Lake Clowey, where the 
canoes were built, on the 15th of February; and upon June 30th 
they returned to Prince of Wales Fort, having been absent 18 
months and 23 days on this last expedition. 

Captain Franklins First Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea in 
1819-20-21-22. — Captain Franklin, accompanied by Dr. Richardson. 
Mr. George Back, and Mr. Robert Hood, embarked on board Hudson 
Bay ship Prince of Wales, on May 23rd, 1819, and arrived at York 
Factory on August 30th. Taking their departure on September 
9th, Norway Point was reached on October 6th, and Cumberland 
House on the 23rd, where they passed the winter. 

On January 19, 1820, Captain Franklin and Mr. Back proceeded 
to the northward on two carioles and two sledges, drawn by dogs, 
and arrived at Fort Carlton on February 1st. Leaving on the 8th, 
on the IGth they reached Fort MacFarlane, which they left again on 
the 20th, and got to Hudson Bay House on the 23rd. Starting again 
on March 5t,h, N. W. Company's House was visited on the 9th, and 



Pierre au Calumet on the 19tli, and Fort Chipewj^an on the 27th ; 
having accomplished the following distances in miles : — 


Cumberland House to Carlton House .. 263 

Carlton House to Isle a la Crosse .. .. 230 

Isle a la Crosse to Methye Portage .. .. 124 

Methye Portage to Fort Chipewyan .. ,. 240 

Total 857 

Here a canoe was built for the expedition — length, 32 feet 6 inches ; 
extreme breadth, 4 feet 10 inches ; depth, 1 foot 11 inches ; 73 hoops 
of thin cedar, and will carry about 3300 lbs. weight. The weight 
of the canoe is about 300 lbs. On July 13, Dr. Richardson and Mr, 
Hood arrived. 

Leaving Port Chipewyan in three canoes, containing five officers, 
one seaman, eighteen Canadians, and three interpreters, on July 18, 
1820, after several portages. Moose Deer Island was reached on 
the 24th, and Fort Providence on the 28th. Leaving it on the 2nd, 
they arrived at their winter-quarters. Fort Enterprise, in lat. 
64° 28', long. 118° 6', on August 19th. The length of the portages 
traversed was 21J miles, and the total length of the voyage from 
Chipewyan 653 miles. 

On September 9th, Sir John, accompanied b}^ Dr. Piichardson, set 
out on a pedestrian journey to the Coppermine Eiver, which was 
reached on the 12th, the distance travelled to and fro being 110 
miles. Mr. Back, in the meantime, went to Fort Chipewyan, and 
returned, performing the journey (upwards of 1000 miles) on foot. 

On June 14th, 1821, the expedition left Fort Enterprise, and 
reached the head waters of the Coppermine on the 28th. Pursuing 
their journey, partly on the water and partly on the ice, they em- 
barked, finally, on the 2nd of July, and met the Eskimo on the 15th, 
and encamped at the Bloody Falls on the 17th. Here Mr. Wentzel 
left them; and the remainder of the party, consisting of twenty 
persons, proceeded to sea. The distance hitherto travelled over was 
334 miles, of which the canoes and baggage were dragged over 
snow and ice for 117 miles. The Coppermine Eiver brings down 
no drift-wood. Berens Isle was reached on the 21st, where small 
drift-wood was found. 24th. " During the last two days the water 
rose and fell about 9 inches ; the tides, however, were very irregular, 
and we could not determine the direction of the ebb or flood. A 
current set to the eastward, 2 miles per hour, during our stay." 
Point Barrow was rounded on the 26th. Arriving at Back Eiver, 
shoals of capelin were seen, and small pieces of willow, which 


enabled them to make a fire. At Bathurst Inlet, on August 3 and 
4, a fall of more than 2 feet water during the night was observed. 
Melville Sound was discovered on the 12th. Here the canoes were 
found to be much damaged by the heavy seas they had been exposed 
to. Point Turnagain was reached on the 21st, having traced 
555 miles of coast-line since leaving the Coppermine. 

Setting out on their return on the 22nd, Hood Kiver was gained 
on the 25th ; and here it was determined to abandon the canoes 
and cross the Barren Grounds. Obtaining a deer now and then, 
but feeding chiefly on tri})e de rode, after undergoing great privation, 
the Coppermine Eiver was reached on the 26th, and Mr. Back sent 
forward, who returned to them on October 1st ; reporting barren 
country on this side, it was determined to make an effort to cross the 
river, which was dene with great difficulty on the 4th in a coracle 
made by Mr. Back out of an old painted cover and willows, 
when Mr. Back was directed to go to Fort Enterprise. On the 6th, 
Mr. Hood being very weak. Dr. Eichardson, with Hepburn, pro- 
posed to remain by him, while Sir John and the remainder of the 
party were to endeavour to reach Fort Enterprise ; but on reaching 
it it was found to be peifectly desolate. A note from Mr. Back 
stated he had gone in search of succour. Feeding on deerskins, old 
bones, and tri^pe de roche, they passed a terrible existence, and were 
joined by Dr. Richardson and Hepburn on the 29th. Dr. Eichardson 
then acquainted Sir John with the fate of poor Hood, and the 
necessity he was under of putting Michel to death. At length, on 
November 7th, relief, dispatched by Mr. Back, reached the party 
The Fort was left on the 12th, and Fort Providence reached on 
December 11th, and Moose Deer Island on the 17th. 

Dr. Eichardson and 3Ir. Kendall in the two Boats, ' Dolphin ' and 
' Union,' from the Mackenzie to the Coppermine Bivers.— The instruc- 
tions received were to trace the coast between the Mackenzie and the 
Coppermine Rivers, and to return from the latter overland to Great 
Bear Lake. Leaving Fort Franklin on the 4th of July, 1826, 
Richards Island was reached on the 7 th, Refuge Cove on the 8th, Cape 
Dalhousie on the 15th, Cape Bathurst on the 18th ; a strong flood- 
tide setting to the westward ; several whales seen. Franklin Bay 
was crossed on the 22nd, Cape Lyon on the 25th, when they were 
detained two days by a gale of wind. The tides were found to be 
regular, and the rise and fall 20 inches. Point Do Witt Clinton 
was reached on the 29th, where tliey were stopped by the closeness 
of the ice. On August 4th land was discovered to the north, to 
which the name of Wollaston was given; and to Iho straits the 

h 2 



name of the two boats, Dolphin and Union. Near Manners Sutton 
Island the tide indicated a stronger current of both flood and ebb 
than we had hitherto seen; sometimes it attained a velocity of 
3 knots per hour. Cape Krusentern was reached on the 7th, and 
the mouth of the Coppermine Eiver on the 9 th. The boats were 
abandoned at the Bloody Falls. The loads amounted to 72 lbs. per 
man, and the pace averaged 2 miles per hour. On the 13th the 
banks of the river were left, and a direct course made for the Great 
Bear Lake, which was reached on the 17th. Indians were met with 
on the 15th. On the 24th Beulim arrived in a boat and several 
canoes from Fort Franklin, which they reached on September 1st. 

Table of High Watek reduced to full and change, compiled by Lieut. Kendall, E.N., 
on the Boat Voyage between the Mackenzie and the Coppermine Eivers in 1826. 


Name of Place. 



Time of High 

Water reduced 

to full and 


Wind, Direc- 
tion, and 


Aug. 16 

July 9 

Garry Island .. .. 




N.E. 6. 

No ice in sight. 

Point Toker . . . . 




N.E. by E. 5. 

Rise 20 inches. 

.. 12 

:: ;: } 



C 0-56 
I 1-48 

E. 8. 
E. 5. 

Heavy ice. 
Little ice. 

,, 13 

Atkinson Island 




S.E. 1. 

Rise 18 inches. 

.. 14 

Boswell Cove . . . . 




W. 6. 

(Very little rise and 
1 fall. 
In Harrowby Bay. 

,, 18 

Point Sir P. Maitland 





,, 19 

Near Cape Bathurst. . 




E.S.E. 6. 

Flood from eastward. 

,, 20 

Point Fetton .. .. 




N.W. e. 

Rise 18 inches. 

> > . . 

W. Horton River . . 




W.N.W. 9. 

.. 21 


W.N.W. 7. 

., 27 

Cape Lyon 




E.N.E. 8. 

Flood from eastward. 

,, 30 

(Smiles I'rom Buchan") 

( River 5 

Point Wise 




N.N.W. 8. 

Rise and fall 9 inches. 

Aug. 1 




W. 4. 

Compact ice. 

.. 3 

Stapylton Bay . . . . 




E. 2. 

Bay filled with ice. 

.. 4 

f Between Cape Hope > 
1 and Cape Bexley . . / 




E.S.E. 4. 

,. 5 

Chantry Island. . . . 




W.S.W. 3. 

,. 6 

( Seven miles from Cape '^ 
I Krusenstern . . .3 





C Flood from S.E. 
\ Velocity 3 miles. 

Distances travelled by Dr. Richardson and Mb. Kendall. 


From Port Franklin to Point Separation 525 

„ Point Separation to Point Encounter 159 

„ Point Encounter to Coppermine River . . . , 863 

„ Coppermine River to Fort Franklin 433 

Sir G. Bach's Voyage down the Great Fish River. — In the year 
1832 grave apprehensions arose for the fate of Sir J, Eoss and 
his companions, who had left England in 1829. Sir George Back, 
than whom no person was better qualified, undertook to command 
an expedition down the Great River Thlew-ee-chow-dezeth. This 

SIR GEORGE BACK, 1833. 149 

river, hitherto unvisited by any European, Sir George had be- 
come in some measure acquainted with by the accounts of the 
Indians ; and froni their report it exceeded the Coppermine 
both in extent and volume. As it was known Sir John Ross had 
determined to effect the North' West Passage by Prince Regent 
Inlet, the Thlew-ee-chow-dezeth (which has now received appro- 
priately the name of Back) was thought to be the best route for 
affording assistance to the missing expedition. 

Accompanied by Dr. King and three men, Sir G. Back left 
England on February 7, 1833, and passing through the United 
States and Canada, they reached Fort William, on Lake Superior, 
on May 20th, and left Norway House on June 28th, and arrived at 
Fort Resolution on the Great Slave Lake on August 8th. Passing 
through Artillery, Clinton Colden, and Aylmer Lakes by a short 
portages, the river which was to conduct them to the Arctic Ocean 
was gained ; but the season was too far advanced to admit of their 
reaching the Polar Sea this season ; the farthest point reached was 
found to be in lat. 64^ 41', long. 108° 8', and they returned to Fort 
Reliance on September 7th. 

Second Voyage. — Leaving Fort Reliance on the 7th of June, 1833, 
they reached the boats, which had been built on Artillery Lake, on 
the 10th, Lake Aylmer on the 24th, and the portage on the 28th; 
and at 1 p.m. on the same day the boat was launched on the Back 
River, which was still encumbered with ice. On the 4th of July 
Mr. McLeod, who had hitherto accompanied them with a hunting 
party, left ; and on July 8th, the ice having broken up, the boat 
was launched on the river. Lake Beechey was reached on the l5th, 
Lake Garry on the 21st, Lake Franklin on the 28th, at the noithcrn 
end of which they met the Eskimo. On the following day the 
mouth of the river was reached. Arriving at Montreal Island on 
August 2nd, a rise and fall of tide was found amounting to 
12 inches, high-water being at 11.40 a.m. Parties wci-o dispatched 
in all directions to see if there was any possibility of creeping 
alongshore among the grounded pieces of ice, but without success. 
On the 5th the ice moved off a little, and enabled them to launch 
the boat; Point Duncan was reached on the Gth, by watching their 
opportunity; Point Ogle on the 10th; here a log of wood, 9 feet 
long and 9 inches diameter, was found, which was considered un- 
doubted proof of the sea being open to the westward, and that the 
main line of the land had been reached, in fact, Point Turnagain, 
which had been n^ached by Franklin on August 21st, was only 4 
miles north of this position. Setting out on their return on 


the 16th, ascending the long and dangerous line of rapids, Lake 
Garry was reached on August 31st, Traces of Eskimo were 
found as high as Baillies Eiver. On September 17th Mr. McLeod 
was met with near Icy Eiver, crossing the portage to Lake Aylmer ; 
the boat was navigated through Clinton Golden and Artillery 
Lakes as far as Anderson's Fall, where it was left on the 25th ; 
and crossing over the mountains, Fort Eeliance was reached on 
September 27th. 

Voyage of Messrs. Bease and Simpson from the Coppermine to the 
Great Fish Biver in 1838. — Leaving Fort Confidence at the north-east 
end of the Great Bear Lake on June 7th, the ascent of the Dease 
Kiver was began. On reaching its summit the boats were placed 
on stout iron-shod sledges, and by dint of sailing and dragging 
they were propelled across the Dismal Lakes on the ice, and were 
launched on the Kendall Eiver on the 19th. Waiting the dis- 
ruption of the ice, the Coppermine Eiver was gained on the 22nd, 
the floods rendering the navigation very hazardous, and they were 
arrested about a mile above the Bloody Fall on the 26th by the 
ice. After a halt of five days, the Fall was descended on July 
1st, the portage occupying six or seven hours ; the boats had to be 
carried half a mile. On July 2nd they met the Eskimo. Detained by 
the close condition of the ice until the 17th, they obtained by their 
nets 140 fish. Leaving the mouth of the Coppermine on that day, 
they had great difiiculty in forcing their way through the ice, and 
did not reach Point Barrow until the 29th, and even then new ice 
of considerable thickness formed during the night. The tides and 
currents are very irregular, depending on the wind and ice, but 
on no occasion was a change of more than 1 foot in the level 
noticed. Cape Flinders was reached on August 9th; here they 
were detained ten days by violent gales from the north and west, 
in lat. 68° 16', long. 109° 21', Mr. Simpson proceeding to the east- 
ward on foot with five of the company's servants and two Indians, 
each man carrying half a cwt. Beaching Cape Alexander on the 
23rd, he found an open sea to the east, and discovered land to the 
north, to which he gave the name of Victoria. Eeturning westerly, 
Boathaven was reached on the 29th. A furious gale from the west 
detained them until the 31st; but they were enabled to regain 
the Coppermine Eiver on September 3rd. The boats were passed 
up the Bloody Falls on the 5th with some damage. Nothing but 
the skill and dexterity of the guides long practised like ours in 
all the intricacies of river navigation could have overcome so many 
obstacles. The boats were deposited 6 miles below the junction of 


the Kendall with the Coppermine on the 10th. Striking straight 
out for the Kendall River they came upon it half a league below 
their Spring Provision Station. On the 12th the Hare Indians 
were met with, and on the 14th Fort Confidence was reached. 

Second Journey. — Leaving Fort Confidence on June 15th, 1839, the 
Kendall Eiver was reached on the 19th, and they learnt that the ice 
had cleared out of the Coppermine Eiver ten days earlier than last 
year. On the 22nd the Bloody Fall was run in eleven hours ; but 
the sea-ice was still solid. Leaving the mouth of the Coppermine 
on July 3rd, they did not reach Cape Barrow until the 18th ; and to 
their great delight found Coronation Gulf open, and reached Boat- 
haven on the 20th, and Cape Alexander on the 26th, where a rapid 
tideway was experienced. It was high-Avater at noon. Full moon, 
the flood came from the westward, and did not exceed 2 feet. The 
temperature of the water 4 feet below the surface was 35°, and the 
air 56°. By attending to the tide Trap Cape was rounded; and on 
the last day in July a river was discovered, which was named the 
Ellice, and which is much larger than the Coppermine, and here no 
drift-wood comes down. Detained by the ice until the 5th of 
August, Point Seaforth was gained on the 11th, and upon the 13th 
they reached Sir George Back's Point, Sir C. Ogle thus connecting 
the Coppermine with Back Eiver. On the 16th Montreal Island 
was visited. Having thus completed their instructions, these enter- 
prisiug men, taking advantage of the open season, crossed over to 
the land seen to the eastward, and reached their farthest point in 
this direction on the 19th, in lat. 68° 28', and long. 94° 14'. Cross- 
ing over on the 24th to what they conjectured to be part of Boothia, 
but which now proves to be King AV^illiam Island the coast was 
traced for nearly 60 miles, until it turned up north, in lat. 68° 41', 
long. 98° 22', only 57 miles from Sir James Ross's Pillar. This 
cape was named Herschel ; and as the remains of one of the crew 
of either the Erebus or Terror was found by Sir L. McClintock to 
the southward and eastward of this cape, the first discovery of the 
Korth-West Passage, that is to say, a continuous sea from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific, rests with Messrs. Deaso and Simpson, and 
with the expedition under Sir John Franklin. 

Keeping to the northward, they crossed the Victoria Straits and 
reached Cape Colborne on the 6th, and coasting along the shoie, 
discovered two bays, to which the names of Cambridge and Welling- 
ton were given : they crossed over to the southern shore on the 
10th, and reached Wontzcl River, where drift-wood was found, and 
on the 16th of September reached the entrance of the <'opperniine, 

152 SIR J. RICHAKDSON, 1818— DR. RAE, 1851. 

after the longest voyage ever performed in boats on the Polar Sea, 
viz., 1408 geographical miles. The boats were left at the Bloody 
Ealls, and the land journey to the Great Bear Lake commenced. 
On the 24th the Dease Eiver was reached, where they found 
a boat awaiting them, and Fort Confidence was reached the same 

Sir John Richardson and Dr. Baes Voyage down the Mackenzie 
and along the Coast to the Coppermine Biver in 1848. — Leaving 
Liverpool on March 25th, they reached New York in a fortnight, 
and proceeded to Montreal ; and from thence to the Sault St. 
Marie, where they were detained some days, awaiting the breaking 
up of the ice on Lake Superior. Cumberland House was reached 
on June 15th, and the Mackenzie on the 15th of July. The 
sea was reached on the 4th of August. On the 22nd they were 
detained by the ice at Point Cockburn ; and it was only at the end 
of the month that they reached a bay between Capes Hearne and 
Kendall, where the boats were abandoned. Setting out on foot on 
September 3rd, and upon the 13th day reached Fort Confidence. 

Dr. Baes Journey to the Coast in 1851. — Leaving Fort Confidence 
on April 25th, with two men, on May 1st he reached the Polar 
Sea, near the mouth of the Coppermine. On the 4th they gained 
Port Lockyer, where they found some wood for cooking. On the 
9th they reached lat. 6S° 38', and long. 110^ 2'. Eeturning to the 
west, Douglas Island was gained on the 15th, and drift-wood found. 
Crossing over to Wollaston Land on the 16th, Eskimo were fallen 
in with near Cape Hamilton ; they had abundance of seals' flesh. 
On the 22nd, lat. 70° 0' and long. 117° 17' was gained, and called Cape 
Baring. Eeturning to the eastward on the 24th, on the 30th the 
Dolphin and Union Strait was crossed to Cape Krusentern in as 
direct a line as the rough ice would admit. On June 4th Eichard- 
Bon Bay was reached. The consumption of food in 33 days was 
54 lbs. of flour, 128 lbs. of pemmican, 1^ lb. of tea, 2 lbs. of chocolate, 
and 10 lbs. of sugar : no tent was carried. Leaving the coast on the 
5th, the Kendall was reached on the 10th. The total distance 
travelled over from Fort Confidence is 942 miles.^ 

Second Journey, — On June 13th, three days after his arrival, the 
boats joined him at the Kendall Eiver from Fort Confidence, having 
occupied 6^ days in the voyage. On the 15th the Coppermine was 
reached ; but the ice did not clear away until the 28th, and the sea 

' On recomputing the distance, I make it 1100 miles, or about 25 miles per day, 
including three days' detention. — J. R. 

DR. RAE, 1851— ' ENTERPRISE,' 1852. 163 

was reached on July 5th. Point Barrow was rounded on July 16tb, 
and Cape Alexander on the 24th. The ice breaking up on the 27th, 
the strait was crossed to the Finlayson Islands on the 27tli, and 
Cape Colborne reached on August 1st. 

At Parker Bay the flood tide came from the eastward. Reaching 
the south end of Taylor Island, they found very heavy, closely- 
packed ice ; but the ebb tide being in their favour, they made 
way, but with considerable risk. 

On the 6th Cape Princess Royal was discovered, and some drift- 
wood (poplar) was seen. In lat. 69° 56', long. 102° 31', a piece of 
pine, 18 feet long by 10 inches diameter, was found. On the 9th of 
August the ice was foiind close in to the shore. 

After waiting until the 12th without the ice opening. Dr. Rae 
started on a foot journey, and eventually reached lat. 70° 3', long. 
101° 25'\ Returning, the boats were reached in 8^ hours. The dis- 
tance of the boat from the position of the Erebus and Terror, where 
they were abandoned on April 12th, 1848, is only 50 miles, being 
the nearest approach to the accomplishment of the North- West 
Passage by sea.^ After attempting to cross over to King William 
Land, he set out on his return on the 16th. 

Parker Bay was reached on the 20th, and Eskimo met with ; 
here a piece of pine-wood, 5 feet 9 inches long, and round, resem- 
bling the butt end of a small flagstaff, was found ; a bit of white line 
was nailed on to it with two copper tacks ; both line and tacks had 
the Government mark. On the 22nd Point Back was gained, and 
on the 28th the Bloody Falls were reached, not having seen a bit 
of ice since leaving Point Back : 21 deer had been shot on the 
coast. Leaving one boat behind, the rapids were passed with great 
difficulty, and the Kendall River reached on the 5th day, and Fort 
Confidence was reached in the boat on September lOth.^ 

Voyage of the ' Enterprise ' from Winter Cove, through the Dolphin 
and Union Strait, to Cambridge Bay. — The thickness of the ice in 
our winter-quarters, in lat. 71° 36' and long. 117° 40', attained its 
maximum, 5 feet 7^ inches, on April 1st, 1852. On May 1st it was 
5 feet 3 inches; on June 1st, 5 feet 1 inch; on May 1st, 4 feet 10 
inches. The ship forged ahead in her icy cradle on July 16th, the 
thickness of the ice then being 3 feet 4^ inches, and on the 19 th 

' Two of Dr. Rae's men reached 70° 13', and saw coast 7° further. 

^ The nearest ai)prnach of two whips is the Hecla and Knterprise, f)? miles. 

^ On the coast of Victoria I.anil tiie Hootl-tide comes from the coast to lony;. 
104"^ or 10;")°, where it is met witli the flood coming from N.E. down the Victoria 
Channel. — J. R. 

154 'ENTERPRISE,' 1852. 

she swung to the wind ; on the 28th the temperature of sea at 
surface was 34-5°, but it was not until August 5th the ship was 
able to proceed to sea. The ice resting on the shore on either side, 
detained her within sight of Winter "Harbour imtil the 8th of 
September, during which time whales were seen and seals were 
numerous. Entering Prince Albert Sound, it was on the 13th 
found to be a gulf and not a strait. Having now discovered that 
WoUaston, Victoria, and Prince Albert Land are all one, it was 
determined to enter the Dolphin and Union Strait, which was done 
on September 17th. Sutton and Listen Islands were reached on the 
20th with very little obstruction from the ice, and on the following 
day Cape Krusentern was passed. On the 22nd, by a slant of wind, 
72 miles were made ; and when the ship was anchored the current 
was found to set to the eastward, at one time as much as 1 knot 
per hour. On the 23rd Cape Franklin was seen ; and in the evening 
we unfortunately got agiound in Byron Bay. On the following 
morning, on opening Wellington Bay, the wind freshened ; and in- 
creasing to a gale, we ran back to the westward, where there was 
more room, and underwent an equinoctial gale under close-reefed 
topsails, with the thermometer at 11°. The sea froze as it lodged ; 
and it was late in the forenoon of the next day before the ice that 
had made on board the ship during the night was cleared away. 
Passing through the Finlayson group on the 26th, Cambridge Bay 
was gained on the 27th; but the water shoaling suddenly, we 
struck the ground, and remained fast until the ice set sufficiently 
firm to allow of our removing everything out of the ship to the 
shore; and the tides taking off, it was not until October 15th 
that we got the ship afloat. 

On crossing over to the Continent with a sleigh, in October, the 
ice was found so rotten in the neighbourhood of Cape Trap that we 
could not land. The mean temperature of the quarter ending 
December 1852 was found to be 5° lower than that experienced 
last year, though we were 2^° further south. The sleighs left the 
ship on the 12th of April, and crossing over the Colborne Peninsula 
came upon the sea-ice near Kae Inlet the following day. On the 
23rd, in lat. 69° 10', long. 121° 20', came upon the junction of the 
old and the new ice ; the former being so hummocky as to be im- 
practicable for sleighs. After exploring to the north, north-east, and 
north-west, and finding nothing but a confused jumble of angular 
pieces, some of which were upwards of 20 feet high, and between 
which the snow was so loose that you frequently sunk up to your 
middle, it was determined to strike in for the Victoria shore. By 
unlading the sleighs, and carrying half-loads, Drift-wood Point (so 

'ENTERPRISE,' 1853. loo 

called from a small piece of mncU decayed wood being found on 
it) was reached. This point is 30 miles from Cape Crozior on King 
William Land, near which Sir L. M'Clintock found the boat. So 
had we gone up the eastern instead of the western side of the 
strait we should have discovered the relics. On the 8th of May 
a cairn was reached, in which was contained a notice from Dr. 
Eae, dated August 13th, 1851. Thus we learnt that our field of 
search had been previously examined. On the 10th an island was 
reached from which no land was visible, except in the direction we 
had come from, and the appearance of the pack forbid all hope of 
penetration even with a light load. During this portion of the 
journey sludge ice and sometimes pools of water were found in the 
neighbourhood of large hummocks, which at first I thought might 
be caused by the increased weight of drifted snow causing the 
hummock to break through the ice, but now I am of opinion that 
it is occasioned by the set of the tide round these hummocks, 
which are aground ; the furthest point attained being in lat. 70'' 35', 
long. 101°. In returning to the ship several cracks in the ice 
were seen, which, were not there when we passed up. The ship 
was reached on May 2lsf, after an absence of forty -nine days, 
and the accomplishment of 753 miles, which does not include the 
previous journeys laying out the depots. In July the ice along the 
shore began to melt, and large quantities of salmon were caught 
by the seine. The result of our observations on the tides is as 
follows. It is high-water on F. and C. days at 11.30, and the 
rise and fall varied from 2 feet 4 inches to 7 inches. The set of 
the tide was so irregular, and so dependent on the wind, that I 
cannot say whether the flood comes from the east or the west. 
On the 25th the ice began to move, but did not open sufficiently 
to allow the ship to leave the bay until the 10th August; the 
wind being light, we were driven by the current to the eastward, 
and sighted Cape Colborne ^ the next day. Capo Alexander was 
doubled at 1 a.m. on the 13th. At Douglas Island tlio ice was 
found closely packed. On the 20th the ship was curried away in 
the pack to the eastward at the rato of 1 mile per hoiir. (,'apo 
Krusentern was passed on the 23rd, 

In the afternoon of the 27th, the wind drew round to the south- 
west, and we made all sail out of the straits, but, the weather 
being thick, ran close past Clerks Island without seeing it. 
The wind drawing to the west, we were coinpelied to stand over 
to Baring Land, and ilio next morning found ourselves off Daraley 

' Tho on.storniiiDst position reached wan in low^. 105 ', making G3i° of longitiule 
Bailed over after entering the Arctic circle. 

156 DR. RAE, 1853-54— ANDERSON, 1855. 

Bay. Cape Parry was passed at midnight, and we came across 
some heavy ice, being the first met with since leaving the straits. 
On the 30th it was so close as to compel us to haul in shore, 
affording a great contrast with the state of the ice at the same 
period two years ago, when the pack was 30 miles from the land. 
Cape Bathnrst was passed on September 1st. On the 2nd, the 
temperature of the sea rose to 36"", and several whales were seen. 
The current was found to set to the eastward, at the rate of 1-2 
miles per hour, which so delayed our progress that Herschel 
Island was not passed until the 4th. 

Dr. Bae's Journey from Bepulse Bay across Bae Isthmus and Simpson 
Peninsula to the West Coast of Boothia Felix.— Vassmg the winter of 
1853-54 on the head of Eepulse Bay, where he maintained himself 
almost entirely by his own resources, on March 31st, he set off, 
accompanied by four men. Felly Bay was reached on April 16th, 
and the Eskimo met with on the 20th, and on the 29th the mouth 
of the Murchison Eiver : continuing his course along the shore of 
Boothia Felix, Cape Forter (so named by Sir John Fioss) was reached 
on May 6th. After obtaining numerous articles from the Eskimo 
belonging to the Erehus and Terror, and receiving from them an 
account of the crews having perished by starvation, Dr. Eae re- 
turned to Eepulse Bay, which was reached on May 26th. Leaving 
Eepulse Bay on August 6th in the boats (the summer being ex- 
tremely cold and backward), Churchill Eiver was reached on 
August 28th, and York Factory on the 31st. 

Voyage of Mr. J. Anderson down Bach Biver. — Leaving Fort Eeso- 
lution in three bark-canoes on June 22nd, 1855, on the 28th the 
ice was fallen in with at the Tal-thal-leh Lake ; and it was not 
until July 2nd that the mountain was reached. Carrying every- 
thing across the portages. Lake Aylmer was gained on the 8th, and 
Sand Hill Bay on the 11th. Availing himself now of the in- 
formation supplied by Sir G. Back, the river was descended, and 
notwithstanding the exquisite skill of our Iroquois bowmen, the 
canoes were repeatedly broken and much strained. On the 20th 
the Eskimo were met with below the Mackinlay Eiver. On Lake 
Garry the ice still delayed their progress. On arriving at the 
rapids below Lake Franklin several articles belonging to the 
missing expedition were found among the Eskimo. On August 1st, 
Montreal Island was reached with considerable difficulty, and the 
remains of a boat and other things belonging to the ships were 
found. Crossing over to Elliot Bay on the 5th, the inlet was full 
of ice, and they could only proceed along shore at high-water. 

FRANKLIN, 18-1G-47— M'CLINTOCK, 1858. 157 

The canoes were so leaky, tliat Mr. Anderson determined upon 
settino- out on foot, and reaclaed Maconochie Island on the 8th. 
" It was impossible to cross over to Point Eichardson as I wished, 
the ice driving through the strait between it and Maconochie 
Island at a fearful rate." " No party could winter on this coast. 
In the first place, there is not enough fuel, and secondly, no deer 
pass." Eeturning up the river, Lake Aylmer was reached on the 
31st, and Old Fort Eeliance on September 11th. 

Victoria Strait and Franklin Channel— The record brought back 
by Sir Leopold M'Clintock informs us that H.M. ships Erebus and 
Terror wintered in the ice in lat. 70° 5' N., and long. 98° 23' w., 
apd that the vessels reached this position in one season from 
Beechey Island: whether by Franklin or M'Clintock Channel 
is not known, but most probably by the former. The ships, 
it appears, were beset on September 12th, 184G, and during the 
following eighteen months were drifted only 12 miles to the 
south-west, when they were finally abandoned on April 12th, 1848. 
The following are a few extracts respecting the state of the ice 
in Franklin and Victoria Channel, from Sir Leopold M'Clintock's 
interesting journal. On August 21st, 1858, the Fox reached a 
position half-through Bellot Strait, which is scarcely one mile wide 
at its narrowest part. At the turn of the tide the vessel was cariied 
back to the eastward at the rate of 6 miles per hour. " The tide 
runs through to the west from two hours before high- water to four 
hours after it : that is to say, the tide comes from the west, as is the 
case in Fury and Hecla Strait : the rise and fall is less on the west 
side than upon the east. On September 29th, the view from Cape 
Bird is thus described : — " There is now much water in the offing, 
only separated from us by the belt of islet-girt ice scarcely 4 miles 
in width." " The water runs parallel to the coast, and is 4 or 5 
miles broad." On the 28th, the Fox was compelled, by the freezing 
of the ice, to take up her winter-quarters in Fort Kennedy. Lieu- 
tenant Hobson, who had left the ship with sleighs on the 25th 
instant, returned to the ship on October Gth, having been stojipcd 
by the sea washing against the cliffs, in lat. 71^°. On the 19th, 
Lieutenant Hobson started again, and returned on November 0th. 
On the 25th, they camped on the ice; a north-east gale sprang 
up, and, detaching the ice, blew them off" shore, and they were m.t 
able to regain the land for two days. 

The following records are made of the state of the ice in Bellot 
Strait during the winter:— October 7th.— "The weather is mild; 
Bellot Strait is almost covered with ice, which drifts freely with 

158 M'CLINTOCK, 1858-59. 

every tide." November 1st. — " Whenever we have a calm night 
we can hear the crushing sound of the drift-ice in Bellot Strait, 
which continues to open within 500 yards of the Fox Islands, and 
emits dark chilling clouds of hateful, pestilent, and abominable 

On February 17th, 1859, the sledge-parties started to carry out 
the depots. Advancing to the southward, the condition of the ice 
is thus described : — " ThroxTghout the whole distance we found a 
mixture of heavy old ice and light ice of last autumn, in many 
places squeezed up into the pack ; but as we advanced southward 
aged floes were less frequently seen." On March 1st the neigh- 
bourhood of the Magnetic Pole was reached, and the Eskimo seen. 
The ship was reached on March 14th, having travelled 420 miles 
in 25 days. Mr. Young and his party returned on board on March 
3rd, having placed their depot on the shore of Prince of VV^ales 
Land, about 70 miles south-west of the ship, the shore of which 
was found to be " fringed for a distance of 10 miles to seaward with 
an ancient land-floe." The remaining width of the strait was about 
15 miles, and this space was composed of ice fm-med since 
September last. This was the water we looked at so anxiously 
last autumn from Cape Bird and Pemmican Eock. On April 2nd 
Sir Leopold and Lieut. Hobson started : the load for each man to 
drag was 200 lbs., and for each dog 100. On April 20th, in lat. 
70^° N., the Eskimo were met with. They had been as far north 
as lat. 71t° hunting seals. Crossing a wide bay upon level ice, 
indicating much open water here late last autumn, the neighbour- 
hood of the Magnetic Pole was reached on the 24th, and a detention 
of three days on account of a heavy north-east gale was incurred. 
At Cape Victoria, Lieut. Hobson parted company, going direct to 
Cape Felix. Sir Leopold struck across this strait for Port Parry ; 
finding a rough pack it took him three daA'S to traverse the strait. 
Matty Island was reached on the 4th of May, and Point Booth on 
May 10th, where a number of articles from the missing ships were 
found. Crossing over to Point Ogle on May 12th, and Montreal 
Island on the loth. " Since our first landing on King William 
Land we have not met with any heavy ice; all along its eastern and 
southern shore, together with the estuary of this great river, is one 
vast, unbroken sheet, formed in the early part of last winter 
where no ice previously existed." Crossing over to the mainland, 
near Point Duncan, on the 18th of May, they followed the coast 
as far as Barrow Inlet, from whence they returned to King- 
William Land. On May 25th, a short distance to the east of Cape 
Herschel, a skeleton was discovered, which, from the documents 


and the clothing found on it, proved that one of the crew of the 
Erebus and Terror had certainly passed Cape Herschel, which had 
been previously reached from the westward by Dease and Simpson. 
Advancing along the west to the north, hummocks of unusually 
heavy ice were met with. On the coast from Point Victoiy north- 
ward the sea is not so shallow, and the ice comes close in ; to sea- 
ward all was heavy, close pack, consisting of all descriptions of ice, 
but for the most part old and heavy. Crossing over land to Port 
Parry, Sir Leopold reached his depot there on June 4th, and Cape 
Victoria, on Boothia Felix, on the 8th, and reached the Fox on 
June 19th. With respect to a navigable North- West Passage, and 
io the probability of our having been able last season to make any 
considerable advance to the southward, had the barrier of ice across 
the western outlet of Bellot Strait permitted us to reach the open 
water beyond, Sir Leopold thus expresses himself:—" 1 think, 
judging from what I have since seen of the ice in Franklin Strait, 
that the chances were greatly in favour of our reaching Cape 
Herschel on the south side of King William Land, by passing, as 
I intended to do, eastward of that island. From Bellot Strait 
to Cape Victoria we found a mixture of old and new ice, showing 
the exact proportion of pack and of clear water at the setting in of 
winter. Once to the southward of the 1'asmania Group, I think our 
chief difficulty would have been overcome, and south of Cape 
Victoria I doubt whether any further obstruction would have been 
experienced, as but little, if any ice remained. The natives told us 
the ice went away and left a clear sea every year." " No one who 
sees that portion of Victoria Strait which lies between King William 
Land and Victoria Land as we saw it, could doubt of there being 
but one way of getting a ship through it, that way being the 
extremely hazardous one of driiting through in the pack. The 
wide channel " (M'Clintock Channel) " between Prince of Wales 
and Victoria admits a vast and continuous stream of very heavy 
ocean-formed ice from the north-west, which presses upon the 
western face of King William Island, and chokes up Victoria Strait 
in the manner I have just described. 1 do not think the North- 
West Passage could ever be sailed through by passing westward, 
that is, to windward of King William Island." "Had Sir John 
Franklin known that a channel existed eastward of King William 
Land (so named by Sir John Koss), 1 do not think he would have* 
risked the besetmcnt of his ships in such veiy heavy ice to the west- 
ward of it ; but had he attempted the North-West Passage by the 
eastern route, he would probably have carried his ships safely 
through to Behring Straits." " Perhaps some CutuiTr voyager, proiil- 


ing by the experience so fearfully and fatally acquired by the 
Franklin Expedition, and the observations of Eae, Collinson, and 
myself, may succeed in carrying his ship through from sea to sea." 
" In the meantime to Franklin must be assigned the earliest dis- 
covery of the North- West Passage, though not the actual accom- 
plishment of it in his ships." 

" The extent of coast-line explored by Captain Young (on Prince 
of Wales Land) amounts to 380 miles, whilst that discovered by 
Hobson and myself amounts to nearly 420 miles, making a total 
of 800 geographical miles of new coast-line, which we have laid 

Lieut. Hobson, after parting with Sir Leopold at Cape Victoria, 
thus describes the condition of the ice between Boothia Felix and 
King William Island : — " No difficulty was experienced in crossing 
James Eoss Strait. The ice appeared to be of but one year's 
growth, and although it was in many places much crushed up, we 
easily found smooth leads through the line of hummocks. Many 
very heavy masses of ice, evidently of foreign formation, have been 
here arrested in their drift ; so large are they that, in the gloomy 
weather we experienced, they were often taken for islands." At 
Cape Felix he observes : — " The pressure of the ice is severe, but 
the ice itself is not remarkably heavy in character ; the shoalness 
of the coast keeps the line of pressure at a considerable distance 
from the beach : to the northward of the island the ice, as far as I 
could see, was very rough, and crushed up into large masses." 

Having laid before you extracts from the journals of the ditferent 
expeditions which have reached the Arctic Sea from the Pacific 
Ocean, the rivers of America, and that portion of Asia which is 
in the immediate neighbourhood of Behring Straits, we are now in 
a condition to comprehend fully the effect which the currents of 
the Pacific have upon the motion of the ice to the north of Behring 


The first, and a very important point it is, which presents itself 
is the contrast between the configuration of the two continents after 
the narrow shallow strait has been passed which separates them. On 
the western side the trend of the coast is gradual, affording immediate 
access for the current to or from the strait along the shore of the 
north face of the Asiatic continent. On the opposite side of the strait 
the turn of the shore is abrupt and rectangular. On the Asiatic 
side we have indisputable records of open water continuously met 
with during the period of lowest temperature for a distance of 
upwards of 1000 miles. On the opposite shore the ice is driven 
frequently during the winter by the force of the wind from the 


coast at Point Barrow, but along the American cuntiueut to tbo 
eastward the ice, as far as we are capable of judging from one 
winter's experience, it remains quiet and immovable. Hence comes 
the question, Does the effect of the Pacific current lose itself in the 
expanse of the Polar Sea, or does it take an easterly trend ? So far 
as experience guides us, the positions reached by the Enterprise in 
1850 prove the existence of a loose pack 100 miles to the north- 
east of Point Barrow ; beyond this, until we come to the records 
given by Sir R. M'Clure, nothing is known, but we have undoubted 
testimony that the pressure on the north face of Banks Land comes 
from the westward : and here in this strait, between Melville 
Island and Banks Land, occurs one of those dead locks in the 
motion of the ice that are remarkably instructive. \\e find the 
Hecla prevented going to the westward along Melville Island by 
the pressure of the ice on the land from the westward ; and on the 
opposite shore it became necessary to leave the Investigator to her 
fate in Mercy Bay from the same cause. Though mention is 
made in the first autumn of her incarceration ot open water having 
been seen along the coast to the eastward, yet in all the transits 
across the straits on the ice in 1851, 1852, and 1853, we have no 
record of any ice movement ; whereas directly the channel east of 
Melville Island is opeued, the Resolute experiences an easterh^ drift. 
I forbear to trespass upon the ground so ably and so laboriously 
explored by the eastern expeditions, knowing that from some of 
the officers engaged in the exploration from that side a much fuller 
and more comprehensive account of the movement of the ice north 
of the Parry Islands, and through Barrow Strait and Lancaster 
Sound into Baffin Bay, can be given than it is possible for me to 
do ; but so far as can be gathered from the accounts given, it 
may, I think, be assumed that the pack is looser, and open spaces 
of water are more frequent to the north than they are to the south 
of the Parry Group; and the effect of this current from tlie 
Northern Sea, after checking the easterly set through M'Clure 
Strait, assisted the passage of the Erebus and Terror from Barrow 
Strait to King William Land. Though the Pacific current is in a 
great measure turned aside from the face of the American con- 
tinent by the abrupt change in the direction of the coast at Point 
Barrow, the testimony of all navigators is conclusive that it is 
felt, and that an easterly set pervades to a greater extent than a 
westerly one, and that this set is more noticeable to the cast of the 
Mackenzie. The latter river, the Coppermine, the Ellice, and tlio 
Back, no doubt contribute to the arrest of the pack in Victoria 


Strait, and lliiis prevented the escape of the Erebus and Terror ; 
but it is more than probable that the detention of those two vessels 
in a position which ditfered only 12 miles in 18 months was mainly 
owing to the meeting of the currents which originally had but one 
origin, and that the Pacific. 








On the Origin and Migrations of the Greenland Eskimos. 

An expedition to the region romid the North Pole will advance 
every branch of science, and will enrich the store of human 
knowledge generally. Its geographical discoveries will only be one 
out of the many valuable results that will be derived from it ; but, 
as geogi'aphers, we may well look forward with deep interest to the 
rich harvest that will be reaped by our science, and take a prelimi- 
nary survey of the additional knowledge that may be in store for us. 
It should be remembered that, thoi'.gh only one-half of the Arctic 
regions has been explored, yet that throughout its most desert wastes 
there are found abundant traces of former inhabitants where now 
all is a silent solitude. Those cheerless wilds have not been inha- 
bited for centuries, yet they are covered with traces of the wanderers 
or sojourners of a by-goue age ; and thfe unexplored region far to the 
north, even up to the very Pole itself, may not improbably be at 
tliis moment supporting a small and scattered population. The 
wanderings of these mysterious people, the scanty notices of their 
origin and migraticms that are scattered through history, and the 
requirements of their existence, are all so many clues which, when 
carefully gathered together, will assuredly tend to throw some 
light on a most interesting subject. The migrations of man within 
the Arctic zone give rise to (piestions which are closely connected 
with the geograpliy of tlie undiscovered ])ortions of the Arcti*; 
regions — (piostions which can only be solved by a scientific Arctic ex- 
pedition. The origin and history of the Eskimo of Greenland, and 



especially of those interesting people on the northern shores of 
Baffin's Bay, who were named by Sir John Boss the " Arctic High- 
landers," are topics serving to illustrate one of the nnmerons points 
which will engage the attention of the Arctic Expedition, and, at 
the same time they may throw some passing light on questions 
in Arctic physical geography which still remain unsolved. 

Until within the last nine centuries the great continent of Green- 
land was, so far as our knowledge extends, untenanted by a single 
human being — the bears and reindeer held undisputed possession. 
There was a still more remote period when fine forests of exogenous 
trees clothed the hill-sides of Disco, when groves waved, in a 
milder climate, over Banks Island and Melville Island, and when 
corals and sponges flourished in the now frozen waters of Barrow's 
Strait. Of this jieriod we know^ nothing ; but it is at least certain 
that when Erik the Bed planted his little colony of hardy Norse- 
men at the mouth of one of the Gieeuland fiords, in the end of the 
tenth century, he apparently found the land far more habitable 
than it is to-day. 

For three centuries and a half the Norman colonies of Greenland 
continued to flourish ; upwards of 300 small farms and villages 
were built along the shores of the fiords from the island of Disco to 
Cape Farewell ^ (for the persevering Danish explorer Graah has 
truly conjectured and Mr. Major has clearly proved that the East 
and West Bygds were both on the west coast),'' and Greenland 
became the see of a Bishop. The ancient Icelandic and Danish 
accounts of thes^e transactions are corroborated by the interesting 
remains which may be seen in the Scandinavian museum at Copen- 
hagen. During the whole of this period no indigenons race was 
seen in that land, and no one appeared to dispute the possession of 
Greenland with the Norman colony.'^ A curious account of a 
voyage is extant, during which the Normans reached a latitude 
north of Cape York; yet there is no mention of any signs of a 
strange race. The Normans continued to be the sole tenants of 
Greenland, at least until the middle of the fourteenth century. 

But Thorwald, the boastful Viking, who sailed away we-t from 
Greenland and discovered America,* did meet with a strange race 
on the shorts of Vinland and Markland, which probably correspond 
with modern Labrador. Here he found men of short stature, w^honi 
he contemptuously called Skrcellings (chips or parings), and sonie 
of whom he wantonly killed. Here, then, is the first mention of 

> Egede. * Graah's ' Greenland,' Infrod. and p. 1G3. 

2 Crantz, i. p. 257. * Ibid. 


J;lie Eskimo. At this period (the eleventh century) they had pro- 
bably spread themselves from Northern Siberia, across Behring 
Strait, along the whole coast of Arctic America, until they were 
stopped by the waves of the Atlantic. The hostility of the Red 
Indians was an effectual barrier to their seeking a more genial home 
to the south. They were not likely to wander towards the barren 
and inhospitable north any more than their descendants do to-day ; 
and they had no inducement to trust themselves in their frail 
Jcayals, or umiaks, on the waves of the Atlantic. They assuredly 
never crossed over to Greenland bj' navigating Davis Strait or 
Baffin's Bay. This, as I believe, is the southern belt of Eskimo 
migiation ; but it is with the Greenland Eskimo that we have now 
to do, who had had no communication with their southern brethren 
since their ancestors hunted together on the frozen tundra of 
Siberia, and who, after centuries of wanderings along wild Arctic 
chores and in regions still unknown, first make their appearance in 
Greenland, coming down from the north. 

Our last historical glimpse of the Norsemen of Greenland shows 
them living in two districts, in villages along the shores, with 
small herds of cattle finding pasturage round their houses, with 
outlying colonies on the opposite, shores of America, and occasional 
vessels trading with Iceland and Norway ; but no grain would 
ripen in their fields. They seem to have been a wild turbulent 
race of hardy pirates, and their history, short as it is, is filled with 
accounts of bloody feuds. All at once, in the middle of the four- 
teenth century, a horde of Skroellings, resembling the small men of 
Vinland and jMarkland, appeared on the extreme northern frontier 
of the Norman settlements of Greenland, at a place called Kindel- 
fjord.. Eighteen Norsemen were killed in an encounter with 
them; the news of the invasion travelled south to the East Bygd; 
one Ivar Bardsen came to the rescue in 1349, and he found that all 
the Norsemen of the West Bygd had disappeared, and that the 
bkradlings were in possession. Here the record abruptly ceases, 
and we hear nothing more of Greenland until the time of the Eliza- 
bethan navigators, and nothing authentic of either Norsemen or 
Skrallings until the mission of Hans Egede, in the middle of the 
last centur}'. 

When the curtain rises again all traces of the Norsemen have 
disappeared save a few Runic inscriptions, extending as far north 

' Crantz, i. p. 258, quoting from La Peyr^re, who repeats from Worniiiis. 
After fi careful coiisidcration of tlie evidence, Mr. Major lias roncludctl tliat 
Kindolfjord is the inlet where the present Danisli yettlcnieDt of Onuniak is 
situated, nortii of the i^iiand of Disco. 

N 2 


asllie present settlement of Upernivik, some ruins and the broken 
chnrch -bells of Gardar. The Skroellings or Eskimos, are in sole 
possession from Kingitok to Cape Farewell. And the ancient 
Norse records are fully conoborated by the traditions of the Es- 
kimos, in the statement that they originally came from the north. 
Like the Mongolian races, the Eskimos are careful genealogists ; 
Crantz tells us that they could trace back for ten generations ;' and 
the story handed down from their forefathers is that they reached 
Southern Greenland by journeys from the head of Baffin's ^aj. 

The interesting question now arises — whence came these Green- 
land Eskimos, these Innuit, or men, as they call themselves. They 
are not descendants of the Skroellings of the opposite Aineiican coast, 
as has already been seen. It is clear that they cannot have come 
from the eastward, over the ocean which intervenes between Lapland 
and Greenland, for no Eskimo traces have ever been found on 
Spitzbergen, Iceland, or Jan Mayen. We look at them and see 
at once that they have no, or only very remote, kinship with the 
red race of America ; but a glance suffices to convince us of their 
relationship with the Tuski or northern tribes of Siberia. It is in 
Asia, then, that we must seek their origin, that cradle of so many 
races, and the search for some clue is not altogether without result. 

During the centuries preceding the first reported appearance of 
Skroellings in Gieenland, and for some time previoiisly, there was 
a great movement among the people of Central Asia. Tugrul 
Beg, Jingiz Khan, and other chiefs of less celebrity, led vast 
armies to the conquest of the whole earth, as they proudly boasted. 
The land of the Turk and the Mongol sent forth a mighty series 
of inundations which flooded the rest of Asia during several cen- 
turies, and the effects of which were felt from the plains of Silesia 
to the shores of the Yellow Sea, and from the valley of the Ganges 
to the frozen tundra of Siberia. The pressure caused by these in- 
vading waves on the tribes of Northern Siberia drove them still 
farther to the north. Year after year the intruding Tatars con- 
tinued to press on. Shaibani Khan, a grandso'n of the might}' 
Jingiz, led fifteen thousand fiimilies into these northern wilds, and 
their descendants, the lakhuts, pressed on until they are now found 
at the mouths of rivers falling into the Polar Ocean. But these 
regions were formerly inhabited by numerous tribes which were 
driven away still farther north, over the frozen sea. Wrangell has 
preserved traditions of their disappearance, and in them, I think, 
we may find a clue to the origin of the Greenland Eskimos. 

' Crantz, i. p. 229. 


The lakliuts, it is naid, were not the first inhabitants of the 
country along the banks of the river Kolyma.' The Oruoki, a tribe 
of fishermen, the Chelaki, a nomadic race possessing reindeer, the 
Tunguses, and the Iiikahirs were their predecessors, 'i hese tribes 
have so wholly disappeared that even their names are hardly re- 
membered. An obscure tradition tells how " there were once more 
hearths of the Omoki on the sliures of the Kolyma than there are 
stars in an Arctic sky." - The Onkilun, too, once a numerous race 
of fishers on the shores of the Gulf of Anadyr, are now gone no 
man knows whither. Some centuries ago they are said to have 
occupied all the coast from Cape Chelagskoi to Behring Strait, and 
the remains of their huts of stone, earth, and bones of whales are 
still seen along the shores.^ The Omoki arc said to have departed 
fiom the banks of the Kolyma in two large divisions, with their 
reindeer, and to have gone northward over the Polar Sea.* 
Numerous traces of their yourts are to be seen near the motith of 
the Indigirka. The Onkilon, too, fled away north, to the land 
whose mountains are said to be visible from Cape Jakan. 

Here we probably have the connuencement of the exodtts of the 
Greenland Eskimo. It did not take place at one time, but spread 
over a period of one or two centuries. The age of Mongol invasion 
and conquest was doubtless the age of tribulation and flight for the 
tribes of Northern Siberia. The Khivan genealogist Abu-'l Ghazi 
tells us that when Ogus Khan, a chief belonging to the conquer- 
ing familj' of Zingiz, made an inroad into the south, some of his 
tribes could not follow him on account of the deep snow.*^ 'J'hey 
were called in reproach Karlih, and this very word, in its plural 
form of Karalit, is the name which the Eskimos of Greenland 
give themselves ; but I do not attach much weight to this coin- 

The ruined yuiiris on Cape Chelagskoi mark the commfncement 
of a long march ; the same ruined yourts again appear on the shores 
of the Parry group — a wide space of 1140 miles intervenes, which 
is as yet entirely unknown. If my theory be correct, it should bo 
occupied either by a continent or by a chain of islands ; for 1 do 
not believe that the wanderers attempted any navigation, or indeed 
that they possessed canoes at all. They kept moving on in search 
of better hunting and fishing grounds along unknown shores, and 
across frozen straits, and the march from the capes of Siberia to 
Melville Island doubtless occupied more than one generation <U" 
wanderers. / 

Wrangell, p. 171. 2 Ibid., p. W. » Ilnd., ii. 3iS. 

* Ibid, !>. 181. ' SlralilcubLTg. 


There is some evidence, both historical and geographical, that 
the unknown tract in question is occupied by land, A chief of the nation told Wrangell that from the"* cliifs between Cape 
Chelagskoi and Cape North, on a clear summer day, snow-covered 
mountains might be descried at a great distance to the north.' He 
maintained that this distant northern land was inhabited, and 
added that herds of reindeer had been seen to come across the 
frozen sea, and return again to the north. The Tuskis also spoke 
of a much more northern land, the lofty mountains of which were 
visible on very clear days from Cape Jakan.'' Wrangell himself 
never saw this mysterious land, and the Tuskis were hardly 
believed until it was actually re-discovered by Captain Kellett, in 
the Herald, in 1850. In August of that year he sighted an exten- 
sive and high land to the north and north-west of Behring Strait, 
with very Lifty peaks, which is believed to be a continuation of the 
range of mountains seen by the natives off Cape Jakan.* There 
are geographical reasons, which have been pointed out by Admiral 
Sherard Osboru, fur the supposition that land, either as a continent 
or as a chain of islands, extends to the neighbourhood of the 
westernmost of the Parry group. The nature of the ice-floes 
between the north coast of America, off the mouths of the Colville 
and Mackenzie, and Banks Island, leads to the conclusion that 
the sea in which such ice is formed must be, with the exception of 
some narrow straits, land-locked. The Eskimos of this part of 
the coast of North America are never able to advance more than 
30 miles to seaward.^ The ice is aground in 7 fathoms of water, 
and the floes, even at the outer edge, which are of course lighter 
than the rest, are 35 to 40 feet thick. The natnre of the ice is the 
same along the west coast of Banks Island. When the Investigator 
made her perilous voyage along this coast, the channel between the 
ice and the cliffs was so narrow that her quarter-boats had to bo 
topped up to prevent their toxiching the lofty ice on one side and 
the cliffs on the other. The pack drew 40 or 50 feet of water ; it 
rose in rolling hills upon the surface, some of which were 100 feet 
high from base to summit, and when it was forced against the 
cliffs it rose at once to a level with the Investigator's fore yard- 
arm.* McClintock also mentions the very heavy polar ice which 
is pressed up on the north-western shore of Prince Patrick Island.'' 

Such awful ice as this was never seen before in the Arctic regions. 
The only way of accounting for its formation, which must have 

' Wrangell, p. 32G. ^ Ibid., p. 342. 

3 Osborn's ' North- West Passage,' p. 49. ■* Ibid., p. 70. 

* Ibid., p. 204. « 'Blue Book,' p. 569. (Further papers, 1855.) 


taken a long course of years, is that it lias no suflieient otitlet, and 
that it goes on accumulating from year to year. It must therefore 
be in a virtually land-locked sea, and this of course implies land to 
the north, as well as to the east, south, and west. Captain Cook 
supposed there must bo land to the north, from having observed 
great flocks of ducks and geese flying south in September. Dr. 
Simpson tells us that the natives of Point Barrow have a tradition 
that there is land far away to the northward, and that some of 
their people once reached it. It was a hilly country, inhabited by__ 
men like themselves, and called Ifjlnn-mina} Here, then, is my 
bridge by which the Omoki, Tunguses, and Onkilon passed over 
from the frozen tundra of Siberia to the no less inhospitable 
shores of Prince Patrick's Island, to those of the head of Wellington 
Channel and Baffin's Ba}', and far into the unknown region. The 
theory of Eskimo migration is thus illustrated hy facts in physical 

On Melville and Banks Islands, and near Xorthumberland Sound, 
we meet with the same ruined yourts of stone and earth, the same 
stone fox-traps, and the same bones of whales and other animals as V 
were seen "By ^Yrangell at the mouth of the Indigirka. These traces ' 
were met with by the Arctic expeditions all along the shores of the 
Parry group, from Prince Patrick's Island to Lancaster Sound, a 
distance of 540 miles. They were of great antiquity, and had evi- 
dently not been occupied for centuries. McClintock found the ruts 
made by Parry's cart, and was led by their appearance, after more 
than forty years, to assign a very high antiquity to the Eskimo 
remains. He says, "No lichens have grown upon the upturned 
stones, and even their deep beds in the soil where they had rested 
ere Parry's men removed them are generally distinct. The astonish- 
ing freshness of these traces compels us to assign a very considerable 
antiquity to the Eskimo remains which we find scattered along the 
shores of the Parr}^ group, since the}' are always moss-covered, and 
often indistinct." '^ I myself carefully examined several of these 
traces of the wanderers, and was equally impressed with their great 
age. I have here collected a list of the principal remains that have 
been observed along this weary line of march :' — 

1. The remains of huts were found byM'Clure on the north-west 
coast of Banks Island. 

2. On Melville Island Parry found tho ruins of six huts, 6 feet 
in diameter by 2 feet high, on the south shore of Liddon's Gulf. 
Similar remains were found un Dealy Island, and at the entrance 

' 'Blue Book,' p. 917. « n,;,!^ j, r^^^y (Furtlicr papcrd, 1855.) 

^ Muikham's ' Fr(iiikliir« Fi if)tHteps,' p. 11"). 


of Bridport Inlet/ Near Point Roche, a piece of drift timber was 
seen by Ve.sey Hamilton, standing upright on the summit of a low, 
flat-topped hill, about 300 yards from the sea, and 60 feet above its 
level, but no signs of an Eskimo encampment were found near it. 
The ground was covered with snow. The drift timber was 6 inches 
in diameter, and was sticking up about 4 feet out of the ground, 
being conspicuously placed, as if for a mark.^ 

3. Byam Martin Island. — Near Cape Gillman there were bones 
of an ox, and jaws of a bear, and on the east shore General Sabine 
saw six ruined huts and an antler.^ 

4. Bathurst Island. — To the eastward of Allison Inlet there 
were seven huts, some circles of moss-covered stones, and, a few 
miles to the west, another hut. On the west side of Bedford Bay 
there were six huts, and some circles of stones, of great age. On 
Cape Capel McClintock examined ten winter habitations, and the 
bunes of bears and seals, some of them cut with a sharp instrument. 
From various circumstances he was led to believe that none of these 
huts have been inhabited within the last 200 years. The general 
form of the huts is oval, with an extended opening atone end. They 
ai-e 7 feet long by 10, and are roofed over with stones and earth, 
supported hy bones of whales.* 

5. CoRNWALLis Island. — At the western entrance of McDougall 
Bay there are some very ancient Eskimo encampments.* On an 
islet in Becher Bay I found three moss-covered circles of stones, 
the sites of summer tents, and a portion of the runner of a sledge. 
A\'est of Cape Martyr there are numerous sites of summer tents, 
Avith heaps of bones of birds, and some very perfect stone fox-traps. 
On the eastern side of Cape Martyr, Osborn carefully examined a 
winter hut. Its circumference was 20 feet, and the height of the 
remaining wall 5 feet G inches.*^ The walls were overgrown with 
moss, and much skill w^as displayed in the arrangement of the slabs 
of slaty limestone. Farther to the eastward I found traces of an 
extensive winter settlement, a neat grave of limestone, and many 
heaps of bones. The whole coast is strewn with remains from 
Cape Martyr to Cape Hotham, and there are several on Cape Hotham 

6. Wellington Channel. — Extensive Eskimo remains, of com- 
paratively modern date, as compared with those at Melville Island, 
were found on the extreme eastern shore, beyond Northumberland 
Sound ; and an Eskimo lamj) was lying on the beach near Cape 

* Parry's first voyage. * ' Blue Book,' p. (i25. (Further papers, 1855.) 

^ Parry's 13rst voyage. ■* ' Blue Book,' p. 188. (Additional papers, 185'^.) 

* Ibid., p. 278. ^ Osboru's ' Stray Leaves,' p. 143. 


Lady Frauklin. On the western shore of Wellington Channel, 
10 miles north of Barlow Inlet, the remains of three huts were 

7. Griffith Island. — I found the sites of four summer huts on 
the western beach, with bones of birds in and around them, also 
part of the runner of a sledge, a willow switch 2 feet o inches long, 
and a piece of the bone of a whale, a foot long, marked with cuts 
from some sharp instrument. Farther on, there were ruins of two 
huts, and some fox-lraps.^ 

8. Pr.ixcE OF Wales Island. — On the shores of the channel, 
between Eussell and Prince of Wales Island, there are ruins of 
huts, with many bones, and on the shore of a deep inlet fiirther 
west, there was an old Eskimo cache, containing bones of seals and 

9. North Someeset. — Euined huts Avere found at Leopold Sound, 
and still farther south by Allen Young, who also saw semicircular 
walls of very ancient date, used for watching reindeer. There are 
now no inhabitants on North Somerset. 

10. North Devon. — Remains of Eskimo huts were found on Cape 
Spenser, Cape Eiley, and in Eadstock Bay. On a peninsula at the 
entrance of Dundas Harbour, I found several huts with moss- 
covered walls three feet high, a small recess on one side, and a space 
for the entrance on the other. I also examined twelve tombs built 
of limestone slabs, containing skeletons.^ I am aware that Eskimos 
belonging to the Pond's Bay tribe were afterwards met with at this 
place by Captain Inglefield. They had come upon the depot which 
was landed at Navy Board Inlet, on the opposite coast, by ]\Ir. 
Saunders, and had thence crossed over to Dundas Harbour, and 
finding good hunting and fishing there, they had continued to visit 
it in the summer. But I still think that the stone hiits and tombs 
are the remains of a more ancient race. The Pond's Ba}' Eskimos, 
like those of Boothia and Igloolik, farther south, pass the winter in 
snow huts, and not in yourts of stone and earth.* 

11. Jones Sound. — An Eskimo skull was picked up. 

12. Carey Islands. — Several Eskimo caches of provisions were 
found, in 1851, on one of the islands. 

We have thus been enabled to trace the routes taken by these 
ancient wanderers in search of the means of sustaining life, step by 

' ' Blue Book,' p. 266. (Additional papers, 1852.) 

- Allori Young lound roinains of btones for kcepiug dowu suiuniLr huts all 
round tli<; boiithurn siiU; of Princc! of Wales Island. 
3 Maikhiim's 'Franklin's lAiolslops,' p. 61. 
* Fairy's second voyajjo. Kobb's second voyage. 


step, along the whole length of the Pany group, from Banks Island 
to Bafi&n's Bay. This- region does not afford the necessary con- 
ditions for a permanent abode of human beings. Constant open 
water during the winter, — at all events in pools and lanes, — appears 
to be an absolute essential for the continued existence of man in 
any part of the Arctic Eegions, when without bows and arrows, or 
other means of catching large game on land. This essential is not 
to be found in the frozen sea, whose icy waves are piled up in mighty 
heaps on the shores of the Parry Islands. Eeindeer, musk oxen, 
and hares are in abundance on Melville and Banks Islands through- 
out the winter, but the emigrants, whose course we are endeavouring 
to trace, were no more able to catch them than are the modern 
" Arctic Highlanders." There animal food, too, without blubber of 
seal or walrus for fuel with which to melt water for drinking pur- 
poses, would be insufficient to maintain human life in the Arctic 
zone. As they advanced farther east they would come to the 
barren limestone shores of Bathurst and Cornwallis Islands, where 
the club moss ceases to grow, where all vegetation is still more 
scarce, and where animal life is not so abundant. A few years of 
desperate struggling for existence must have shown them that their 
journey half round the world was not yet ended. Again they had 
to wander in search of some less inhospitable shore, leaving behind 
them the ruined huts and fox-traps which have marked their route, 
and helped to identify them with the fugitives who left their yourts 
at the mouths of the Indigirka and the Kolyma. We have every 
reason to believe that no Eskimos have since visited the Parry 

The emigrants probably kept marching steadily to the eastward 
along and north of Barrow Straits. They doubtless arrived in 
small parties throughout the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth 
centuries. They seem to have been without canoes, but to have 
been provided with dogs and sledges, and on reaching the mouth of 
Lancaster Sound they appear to have kept along the shore, leaving 
traces in the shape of ruined huts at the entrance of Jones Sound, 
and finally to have arrived in Greenland, on some part of the eastern 
shore of Smith Sound, not improbably at the " wind-loved " point of 
Anoritok. Thence, as new relays of emigrants arrived, they may 
be supposed to have separated in parties to the north and south, the 
former wandering whither we know not, the latter crossing Melville 
Bay, appearing suddenly among the Norman settlements, and even- 
tually peopling the isles and fiords of South Greenland. Some of 
the wanderers remained at the "wind-loved" point, established 
their hunting-grounds between the Humboldt and Melville Bay 


glaciers, and became the ancestors of that very curious and in- 
teresting race of men, the "Arctic Highlanders." 

Unlike the Parry Islands, the coast of Greenland was found to be 
suited for the home of the hardy Asiatic wanderers, and here at 
length they fuund a resting place. Its granite cliffs are more covered 
with vegetation than are the bare limestone ridges to the westward. 
The currents and drifting bergs keep pools and lanes of water open 
throughout the winter, to which walrus, seals, and bears resort. 
Without bows and arrows, without canoes, and without wood, the 
" Arctic Highlanders " could still secure abundance of food with 
their bone spears and darts. For generations they have been com- 
pletely isolated by the Humboldt glacier to the north, and the glacier 
near Cape Melville to the south. Thus their range extends along 
600 miles of coast-line, while inland they are hemmed in by the 
Sernik-soak, or great ice-wall. Dr. Kane tells us that they number 
about 140 souls,^ powerful, well-built fellows, thick-set, and muscu- 
lar, with round chubby faces,^ and the true warm hearts of genuine 
hunters ; ready to close with a bear twice their size, and to enter 
into a conflict with a fierce walrus of four hours' duration on weak 
ice. Their iglii, or winter habitation, is a circular stone hut, about 
8 feet long by 7 broad, and is identical in all respects with the 
ruins which we found on the shores of the Parry Islands. It should 
be observed also that on comparing the vocabulary of the language 
of the Greenland Eskimo with that of the Tuski of Northern 
Siberia, it will be seen that both are dialects of the same mother- 

The discoveries of geologists have recently brought to light the 
existence of a race of people who lived soon after the remote glacial 
epoch of Europe, and who were unacquainted with the use of metals. 
Their history is that of the earliest family of man of which we yet 
have any trace ; while here, in the far north, there are tribes still 
living under exactly similar conditions, in a glacial country, and in 
a stone age. A close and careful study of this race, therefore, and 
more especially of any part of it which may bo discovered in hitherto 
unexplored regions, assumes great importance, and becomes a subject 
of universal interest. 

I ventured to hint that, after the arrival of the Asiatic emigrants 
at the " wind-loved " point, while some went south, and, driving out 
the Norsemen, peopled Greenland ; and while others remained be- 
tween the forks of the great glacier, a third lino may have been 
taken far to the nortli, towards the Pole itself. I believe this to bo 

' Kuuc, ii. p. lOS. ^ Ibid., p. 230. 


far from improbable. It is true that the" Arctic Highlanders" told 
Dr. Kane that they knew of no inhabitant beyond the Humboldt 
glacier, and this is the farthest point which was indicated by Kalli- 
hii'ua — Erasmus Yorh (the native lad who was on board the Assistance 
for more tlian a year), on his wonderfully accurate chart. In like 
manner the Eskimo of Uperuivik knew nothing of natives north of 
Melville Bay until the first vo^'age of Sir John Eoss. Yet we know 
that there either are or have been inhabitants north of Humboldt 
glacier, for Morton (Dr. Kane's steward) found the runner of a 
sledge, made of bone, lying on the beach on the northein side of' 
it.' There is a tradition, too, among the " Arctic Highlanders," that 
there are herds of musk oxen far to the north on an island in an 
iceless sea,'^ In 1871, during the voyage of the Polaris, Dr. Bessels 
saw traces of Eskimos as far noith as 82°, in which parallel he 
picked up, lying on the beach, a couple of ribs of the walrus which 
had been used as sledge-runners, and a small piece of wood that had 
formed part of the back of a sledge. An old bone knife-handle 
was also found, and circles of stones showing the positions of three 
tents of a summer encampment. Assuredly the greater abundance 
of game far up Smith Sound, as described by Dr. Bessels, shows 
that the Eskimos who wandered towards the Pole would have no 
inducement to go south again. Open water means to them life. 
It means bears, seals, walrus, ducks, and rotches. It means health, 
comfoit, and abundance. 

In the belief of some geographers there is a great Polynia, or 
basin of open water round the Pole." Wrangell says that open 
water is met with north of Kew Siberia and Kotelnoi, and thence 
to the same distance otf the coast between Cape Chelagvkoi and 
Cape North.* If this be the case the Omoki and Onkilon, who fled 
before Tartar or Eussian invasion, had no reason to regret their 
change of residence. A land washed by the waves of a Polar Sea 
would be a good exchange for the dreary tundra of Arctic Siberia, 
where the earth is frozen for 70 feet below the surface. Wherever 
a Polynia, be it large or small, really exists, there men who sustain 
life by hunting seals and walrus may be expected to be found upon 
its shores. We may reasonably conclude then, if the region 
between Hall's farthest and the Pole bears any resemblance to 
the coast of Greenland, if there is a continent or a chain of islands 
with patches of open water near the shores, caused by ocean cur- 
rents, that tribes will be found resembling the "Arctic High- 

' Kane, i. p. 309. " Petermann's ' Search for Franklia.' 

= Hayes, p. 35. ' Wrangell, p. 504. 


landers," who extend tlieir wanderings to the very Pole itself. Such 
a people will be completely isolated, ihey will he living entirely 
on their own resonrcos — far more so even than the " Arctic Ilio-h- 
landers," since the Korth Water has been for the last forty years 
visited by whalers and explorers : and a full account of the habits, 
the mode of life, and the language of so isolated a people will be 
to many of us among the most valuable results of the contemplated 
Arctic Expedition. 

I have thus endeavoured to point out the routes which were 
probably taken by the ancestors of the Greenlanders, and of the 
supposed denizens of the Pole, in their long march from the Siberian 

On the Arctic Highlanders. 

The country of the Arctic Highlanders, the most northern known 
])eople in the world, is that strip of land on the eastern side of RaflBn's 
Bay and Smith Sound, which is bounded on the south by the 
]\Ielville and on the north by the great Humboldt glacier ; and in 
describing a strange and very inteiesting tribe, it will be well, in the 
first place, to enumerate the voyages which have brought this region 
to our knowledge, and to examine what manner of country it is 
which supplies a home for this outlying piquet of humanity. 

On the 1st of Jul}', 1<316, Baffin steered the little Bhcovery, of 
fifty-five tons, into the open water at the head of Baffin's Bay, 
which " anew revived the hope of a passage." The old navigator 
refrained from scattering the names of all the great men of his 
da}' and of all his friends and acquaintances round the head of 
the bay. He only gave names to nine of the most prominent 
features — namely. Cape Dudley Digges, WoLstenholme Sound and 
Island, Whale Sound, Hakluyt Island, the Carey Islands, and Smith, 
Jones, and Lancaster Sounds. He anchored in Wolstenholmo and 
Whale Sounds ; but it is not stated that he landed, and as the weather 
was bad, he probably did not, but he communicated with the in- 
habitants. No doubt, too, they were watching him with extreme 
astimi.shment, from behind rocks, as is their wont, and the ap- 
pearance of this stiange apparition in those silent seas may have 
been the subject of a tradition in the tribe. 

Baffin, then, was the first navigator who forced his way through the 
ice-barrier drifting south, and entered the "North Water;" but it 
was left to Sir Jcjhn IJoss to di^C'iver the existence of inhabitants on 


its shores. His account of them, though containing several errors, 
is given in perfect good faith, and due allowance must of course be 
made for mistakes of interpretation. 

After an interval of just two centuries, Captain John Boss fol- 
lowed Baffin into the " North Water," and was the first European 
who had intercourse with the inhabitants of its shores — whom 
he called " Arctic Highlanders." They came off to his ships over 
the ice, in small parties, between the 9th and 16th of August, 
1818, and he took much pains to obtain all possible information 
from them, through his Eskimo interpreter, John Sackheuse ; 
but he did not land to examine their huts. Sackheuse evidently 
understood their dialect very imperfectly, and he told Eoss strange 
stories about a mountain of iron, a king called TulooioaJi, who 
lived in a large stone house, and other marvels. But all that 
Sir John saw with his own eyes, respecting the dress and appear- 
ance of his visitors, their sledges and implements, he describes 
with truth and accuracy. 

Sir John Koss led the way into the " North Water," and he 
was followed during many years by a fleet of whalers who, doubt- 
less, occasionally communicated with the " Arctic Highlanders ; " 
but we have no record of these visits, if any such took place. In 
1849-50 the North Star (store-ship) wintered in Wolstenholme 
Sound, and her crew had most friendly relations with the natives 
throughout the period of their stay; and in August, 1850, H.M.S. 
Assistance (Captain Ommanney), with her tender, the Intrepid, 
communicated with the natives at Cape York. The Intrepid also 
went into Wolstenholme Sound ; and we took on board a young 
Arctic Highlander, of whom I shall have more to say presently, 
as he afforded an excellent opportunity of forming a judgment of 
the characteristics of this interesting people. The other discovery 
ships of 1850-51 {Lady Franklin and Sophia, under Captain 
Penny' ; Prince Albert, under Captain Fors^'th ; and Felix, com- 
manded by Sir John Eoss) also had intercourse with the natives 
at Cape York, In August, 1852, H.M.S. Resolute (Captain Kellett) 
touched at Cape York; and in the same year Captain Inglefield, 
in the Isabella, visited the natives of the Petowak glacier, and at 
a settlement about twenty miles from Cape Parry. Dr. Kane did 
not see them until his schooner was frozen in for the winter on 
the eastern shore of Smith Sound, but he afterwards formed most 
intimate relations with them during 1853-54-55. One of his 
officers. Dr. Hayes, was living amongst them for several months, 
and ihej saved the lives of Kane and his whule crew. Sir Leopold 
McClintock, in the Fox, communicated with eight natives off Cape 


York, on Juue 27th, 1858. They asked after Dr. Kane, and immedi- 
ately recognised the Danish interpreter, Petersen, who served both in 
the expeditions of Kane and McClintock. At Godhavn Sir Leopohl 
received a request from the Eoyal Danish Greenland Company, 
through the Inspector of North Greenland, to convey the tribe of 
"Arctic Highlanders " to the Danish settlements in Greenland ; and, 
he says, " had the objects and circumstances of my voyage permitted 
me to turn aside for this purpose, it would have afforded me very 
sincere satisfaction to carry out so humane a project." ' Dr. Hayes 
saw much of them again during his voyage in 1860, as did Dr. 
Bessels and the crew of the Polaris, when they wintered off Etah in 

It is from the accounts of writers and other observers who have 
served in these dift'erent voyages, and more particularly from the 
works of Dr. Kane and Di-. Hayes, that our knowledge of tlie 
" Arctic Highlanders " is derived.^ 

The home of these people of the far north is between latitudes 
70^ and .79^, just on the verge of the unknown Polar Eegion. It 
is a deeply indented coast-line of granitic cliffs, broken by bays 
and sounds, with numerous rock sand islands, and glaciers stream- 
ing down the ravines into the sea. To the south it is bounded 
by the glaciers of Melville Bay, which now bar all progress in 
that direction, insomuch that when John Sackheuse tokl Captain 
Ross's visitors that he came from the south, they replied — " that 
cannot be, there is nothing but ice there." ^ To the northward, 
in like manner, a glacier bounds their hunting-ground ; while in- 
land the mighty SerniJc-soah, or great glacier of the interior, con- 
fines them to the sea-coast, and to the shores of fiords and islands. 
The vast interior glacier sends down numerous branches to the 
sea, the ends of which break of and form a great annual harvest 
of icebergs. The rocky coast, between these streams of ice, is for 
the most part of granite formation, and in many places is richly 

» Fate of Franklin, p. 13S. 

2 1. Sir John Iloss'.s First Voyage. 1818 ; 2 Farkcr Snow's Arctic Voyage, 
1851; ?>. Osliorn's Stray Leaves, 1852; 4. M;irkliaiii's I'rankliu's Footsteps, 
J 853; 5. Sutlirrlnnd's Journal, etc., 1852; G. Infjlefiuld's Summer Search, 1853; 
7. Arctic Miftcellanies, 1853 ; 8. McDoniijaH's Voya,;;e of the Resohite, 1855 ; 
9. Kane's Arctic Explorations, 185G; 10. Haye.V Boat Voyage, 1857 ; 11. 'Rev. 
J. 1>. Murray's Accfiunt of Erasmus York ; 12. McClintock's Fate of Franklin, 
I8.;0; 1;-!. llay(;s' Narrative of a Voyiige towards tiie North Pelf in the schooner 
United States, 18tJ7. Vocahulariis—l. Halhi, Atliis Ethiiogra]ihi<ine ; 2. Wash- 
ington, Eskimo Vocabularies; 3. Faljricius, CJreenland Diclioiiary; 1. Ross's 
Second Voyage : 5. Parry's Scicond Voyage ; 0. Craiilz's ( ; 7. Mgi de's 
(Greenland and Janssen's Vocubuiaries. Siberia — 't>iv;ih\tiuh\w\:^\ Wrangdl ; 
Hooper's Tciits of the Tuski; Dr. Simpson's Report. 

•* The distance from Cape York to Upernivik, the nearest iiilialiitc<l Imd to 
the south, is about two hundred and fifty miles. 


covered with soft moss, and mimerons wild flowers, liesides dwarf 
willow. The flora of this land consists of forty-four genera and 
seventj'-six species as yet discovered, among which there are four 
kinds of ranunculus, fourteen crucifers, including three kinds of 
scurvy grass, several pretty little stellarias, potentillas, and saxi- 
frages, seven of the heath tribe, a dwarf willow, a fern (Cysto- 
pteris), and numerous mosses and grasses. Dr. Donne t speaks of 
the fertile valleys of Wolstenholme Sound, covered with moss, 
over which, as he walked, he felt as if Persia had sent her softest 
material to give comfort to the "Arctic Highlander." It is fair to 
add that he wrote this sentence when frozen in off the more 
barren shores of Griffith Island. 

But it is on the condition of the sea, much more than of the 
land, that the suitability of a region for human habitation dej)ends 
within the Arctic Zone ; and although Greenland is infinitely richer 
in vegetation, and abounds more in animal life, than the dreary 
archipelago to the westward, 3-et without open water in the 
winter it would be uninhabitable. The ice drifting south in the 
spiing leaves a large extent of navigable sea at the head of Baf- 
fin's Bay during the summer — known as the " Korth ^^"ater"; 
while the currents and the innumerable icebergs, always in mo- 
tion and ploughing up the floes, keep up open pools and lanes 
of water throughout the winter. 

Such is the country which supports a multitude of living creatures, 
in a temperature where the mean of the warmest month is -f- 38, and 
of the coldest — 38, in a climate where there are furious gales of wind, 
where the year is divided into one long day and one long night, but 
where, in the glorious summer, in the calm and silent sunny nights, 
maybe seen some of the most lovely scenery on this earth. No lich 
woodland tints, little diversity of colouring ; all its beauty dependent 
upon ice and water, and beetling crags, and strange atmospheric 
effects, but still most beautiful. The land between the shore and 
the glacier is the abode of reindeer, bears, foxes, and hares ; of ravens, 
falcons, owls, ptarmigan, willow-grouse, f-now-bunting, dotterels, 
und phalaropes; while the aquatic birds come in tens of thousands 
to breed on the crags and islands — king ducks, eider ducks, long- 
tailed ducks, and brent geese ; looms, dovekeys, and rotches in 
millions ; skuas, ivory and silver gulls ; burgomasters, niullemukkes, 
kittiwakes, and Arctic terns. Above all, so far as man's existence 
is concerned, the open pools and lanes of water are crowded with 
seals (hispid and bearded), walrus, white whales, and narwhals, 
and these again betoken the existence of fish, molluscs, and minute 
marine creatures in myriads. 


Here, then, is a region where man too might fiiul subsistence, 
and here accordingly we meet with a hdrdy tribe of men, num- 
bering, according to Dr. Kane's calculation, about 140 souls, 
reduced, according to Hayes, to 100 in 1860. They ai-e separated 
in eight or more settlements, scattered along the coast from the 
Humboldt to the Melville glacier. The names of the settlements, 
according to York, who marked all their positions on his chart, 
are AnoritoJc, in Smith Sound ; EtaJi, near Cape Alexander ; Pikierlu, 
Ekalah, Pitorak, Natsilik, in Whale Sound ; Umenak, where the North 
Star wintered ; Aliipa and Imnagen, at Cape York. These are the 
permanent winter settlements, but in summer they pitch their tents 
wherever they are likely to find the best hunting-ground. 

This remarkable tribe is decidedly of Asiatic afiinities so far as 
the outer man is concerned. The men we saw at Cape York 
averaged about five feet five inches in height ; but Dr. Kane de- 
scribes the firtet native he met with as a head taller than himself, 
and extremely powerful and well built. They are generally cor- 
pulent and fleshy, and so heavy that it is difficult to lift a full- 
grown man. The forehead is narrow ami low ; nose very small ; 
cheeks full and chubby ; mouth large, lips thick ; eyes small, 
black and very bright; beard scanty, and hair black and coarse. 
The hands and feet are small and thick. They are possessed of 
great strength, endurance, and activit}^ ; and are on the whole in- 
telligent. This description, most of which I have copied from my 
journal, would answer as well for some of the northern tribes of 
Siberia as for the Arctic Highlanders ; and I may add that when 
poor Y'ork went to the Great Exhibition, everybody thought he 
was a Chinese.^ 

Their winter habitations mark them as a peculiar people, in 
some respects distinct from the Eskimo of America ; for while the 
latter live in snow huts, the Arctic Highlanders build structures 
of stone. These stone iglus, though quite unlike the winter 
homes of the American Eskimo, are precisely the same as the 
ruined yourfs on the northei'n !^hure8 of Siberia, and as the ruins 
found in all parts of the Parry Islands. They thus furnish one 
of several clues which point to Siberia as the original home of 
these people. 

The i'jlu of the Arctic Highlander is built of large stones, 
carefully and artistically arranged in an elliptical form. The 
sides gradually approach each other, and the roof is covered over 

' The descriptions givt n by Dr. Simpson of the tribes in Kotzcbuo Sound, and 
by Lieut. Hooper of the Tuski on the Asiatic coast, show that these jwople 
closely resemble the Arctic Highlanders in outward appeanince. 


with long slabs, at a height of about five feet eight inches from the 
ground, the outside "being lined with sods. The entrance is by a 
tunnel about ten feet long, with barely room enough for a man 
to crawl through — called tossut ; and just above there is a small 
window with dried seals' entrails stretched over it. The dimen- 
sions of the interior are about twelve feet by ten, and half of it 
is taken up by a raised platform which is covered with dried 
moss and bear-skins, and serves as a bed for the whole family. 
On the walls hang skins, fowl-nets, whips, and harpoon-lines ; and 
the furniture consists of shallow cups of seal-skin, the soap-stone 
lamp (JeotluF) with its supply of oil and moss-wicks, and racks of 
rib-bones lashed together crosswise, on which the clothes are 
dried. The cups are for receiving the water as it melts from a 
lump of snow, and flows down the shoulder-blade of a walrus, 
placed on stones. This is their sole cooking operation; for the 
boiling of soup made of blood, oil, ard intestines is only done as 
an occasional delicacy ; and as a rule they devour their food raw, 
be it flesh, blubber, or intestines, and in enormous quantities. 
Kane calculates one man's consumption at eight or ten pounds of 
flesh and blubber, and half a gallon of water and soup. This diet 
is no doubt wholesome and natural, and, so long as it can be had 
in sufficient quantity, it preserves the Arctic Highlander in the 
fine plump condition which characterises him. The heat of the 
iglu is intense when the ordinary number of a dozen inmates is 
collected, and it is the usual habit to adopt a complete dress of 
nature as the indoor attire. It is not, therefore, until the Arctic 
Highlanders come forth for the chase that they may be seen in a 
dress suited to the outer climate. Next the skin they wear a 
shirt of bird-skins neatly sewn together, with the soft down in- 
wards ; over which comes the l-apetah, a loose jumper of fox- 
skin, which is, however, tight round the neck, where the nessak 
or hood is attached to it. The nessak is lined with bird-skins 
and trimmed with fox-fur. l^be breeches, called nannuh, of bear- 
skin come down to the knees, and up so as just to be in contact 
with the Tcapetah when the wearer is standing upright. If he 
stoops the whole of his person between the nannuh and hapetah 
is exposed. On the feet bird-skin socks are worn with a padding 
of grass, over which come bear-skin boots. By means of their sledges 
drawn by dogs they can move swiftly to the best hunting-grounds, 
which are of course well known, and secure the mighty game, the 
huge walrus and formidable bears, which are their necessaries of 
life. No hunters in the world display more indomitable courage 
and presence of mind, nor more skill and judgment in the exercise 


of their craft. Their weapons are a lance of narwhal ivory, or 
sometimes of two bear thigh-bones lashed together, tipped with 
steel since their intercourse with whalers, and a harpoon. They 
also have a knife made from some old drifted cask hoop, which 
they conceal in the boot. The lance is nsed in their gallant en- 
counters with bears, and in securing a walrus or seal on the ice, 
when its retreat has been cut off; the harpoon for the far more 
dangerous battles with the walrus in his own element. They 
have bird-nets, with which they catch the little auks and guil- 
lemots that breed in myriads on the perpendicular crags; and 
this employment is also attended with great risk. In the year 
we visited Cape York, a native told us that several men had lost 
their lives in netting guillemots on the steep cliffs of Akpa Island. 
York also told us that his people occasionally, but very rarely, 
succeeded in killing a reindeer ; and Petersen says that the twenty 
decayed skulls, without lower jaws, that were found in the north- 
ward of 79^ N., had been killed by native hunters.^ 

They have no canoes, either Tcayak or umiaJc, and are thus con- 
fined to the land and ice; and they probably first obtained the 
word uviiak for a ship, from John Sackheuse when he pointed 
to the Alexander and Isabella. This ignorance of an appliance 
which is known to nearly all the Eskimo tribes is remarkable. 
The Arctic Highlanders certainly do not show themselves to be 
less intelligent than other Eskimo tribes in contrivances for pro- 
curing food and providing for their comfort. I am inclined, there- 
fore, to account for their want of kayaks from the circumstances of 
their position. In the south, from the absence of ice duiing a great 
part of the year, the Greenlander is obliged to seek his food on 
the sea ; while in the north there is a land-floe thioughout the 
year, and the Arctic Highlander can harpoon the walrus, narwhal, 
and white whale from the ice.. The necessity which led to the 
invention of a kayak in the one case, does not exist, in so urgent 
a form, in the other. Hans, the Holsteinborg Eskimo, who was 
left behind by Dr. Kane (having fallen in love with a fair 
daughter of the far north), had a kayak with him; but in the 
winter of 1857-58, being pressed by famine, ho and his family 
were obliged to eat it. 

It is more remarkable that the Arctic Highlanders have no 
bows and arrows, and this is one of the circrnnstances which con- 
clusively prove that they are not the same people as the Eskimo 
of Boothia and Pond's Bay. The great superiority of the sledges 

McCliut(K!k, p. 7(j. 



of the Arctic Highlanders, compared with those of the Boothia 
people,^ must weigh on their credit side, against the bone hows 
and arrows, in deciding the comparative ingenuity and intelligence 
of these tribes. 

The hunting season of summer and autumn enables the Arctic 
Highlanders to accumulate large stores of flesh and blubber wliich 
last them until December, but their enormous consumption soon 
diminishes the stock, and in January and February they begin to 
feel the pinchings of hunger. Then these indomitable hunters 
have to come out in the intense cold and contend with the huge 
walrus on the edge of treacherous ice ; while, in very bad seasons, 
the}' are reduced to eating their dogs. During the long night 
they are engaged in mending sledge-harness and preparing har- 
poon-lines and bird-nets; and the women chew the boot-soles 
and bird-skins, and make clothes with ivory needles and thread of 
split seal sinew. Summer brings a bright and happy time of 
sunshine and plenty. The children drive the babies along in 
miniature sledges, the boys play at hockey with rib-bones and 
leathern balls, or catch the rotches with nets attached to long 
narwhal horns, and the hunters are busy in their attacks upon 
larger game. All emerge from the dismal iglus, and exchange 
their darkness and filth for the well- ventilated seal-skin tents ; 
and thus they move from place to place along the coast. 

We now come to the consideration of the important question 
of language as an element in the discussion of the origin of these 
people. That of the Gieenland Eskimo belongs to the American 
type of languages, which Du Ponceau has called polysynthetic, 
and William von Humboldt agglutinative, from their peculiarity 
of forming all compound words and phrases by adding particles 
to the root in a certain way. The Eskimo language certainly does 
exhibit this peculiarity. It indulges in very long words, such, for 
instance, as Aulisariartorasuarpok (he made haste to go out fishing), 
which is composed of the three words, aMZi'sarpoit '(he fishes), pear- 
torpok (he went), and pivesuarpok (he made haste). Aglekkigiarto- 
rasuamiarpok is not short. But agglutination is by no means 
peculiar to the American languages ; and Profesf^or Max Miiller 
groups the American with many other languages in Asia and 
Africa, which he calls agglutinative, not because there is the 
remotest indication of a common origin, but from the absence of 
any organic differences of grammatical structure.^ This is, there- 

> McClintock., p. 236. 

" These languages are called agglutinative, to distinguish them from the in- 
flexion of tlie Aryan and Semitic tongues, and from the roots of the Chinese. 

LAN li u AG i:— n v: li c; lox. 


fore, not a conclusive reason for supposing that tLo Eskimo is an 
American language. The vocabulary of the Greenland language 
and that of the Tuski tribes of Siberia contain so many important 
^\ords alike that their comparison supplies a strong argument in 
favour of common origin. 'I'he following list contains some words 
which are identical in the languages of the Greenlandcrs and uf 
the Siberian tribes near tbe Gulf of Anadyr : — 








































But neither the Arctic Highlanders' vocabulary nor that of the 
Tuskis and Anadyr tribes are before us in a complete shape.^ 
It may be understood generally that the lauguages spoken by all 
the tribes from Humboldt Glacier to Cape Farewell, are but 
dialects of the same mother-tongue ; while they are dialects of 
the languages of Labrador, Igloolik, Boothia, Kotzebue Sound, and 
some parts of Siberia. 

The Arctic Highlanders only have words for the first five nu- 
merals, although they make shift to count a little higher, up to 
twenty; but otherwise their language, though wanting all words 
to express abstract ideas, is very precise and exact, and few lan- 
guages are richer in pronominal forms of speech. Their songs 
are for the most part iuipromptu, and in the long winter night, 
while one recites a catalogue of recent events and possibly some 
traditions, the rest join, with a certain time and cadence, in the 
ancient chorus — Amna ajah ajah ah-hu. Dr. Kane heard this 
chorus in the igliis in Smith Sound, and Crantz records the same 
words as used by the people of South Greenland. Their religion 
is very simple. They believe in supernatural beings presiding 
over the elements, who are the familiar spirits of their angeJcoJcs or 
magicians; and that the angeJcoJcs can converse with them, and thus 
prophecy the prospects of the hunting season and similar matters. 

' It must be remembered, too, that the Omoki and otlicr Siberian tribes have 
di.sappeared altogether, taking their hinguage with tlieni ; and, according to my 
tlieory, these arc the anccators of the Arctic Higldaiidcrsi. 


These angekohs are not hereditary office-bearers ; but, for the most 
part, they are the cleverest and laziest fellows in the community. 
They have a few proverbs and figurative sayings, they perform 
incantations over the sick, prescribe the nature and amount of 
mourning for the dead (who are buried under heaps of stones, or 
sometimes an iglu is abandoned and closed up as a tomb), and 
exercise that general influence which they obtain from their own 
cunning, and from the traditional respect in which their profession 
is held. This angekoh superstition is exactly the same as the 
Shamanism of the Siberian tribes, as described by Wrangell. Thei'e 
is very little crime amongst these good-natured savages, though 
the punishments they inflicted on criminals were formerly 
severe. But, in 1858, the people at Cape York told McClintock 
that they had abolished their ancient custom of punishing 
theft capitally, because their best hunters were often the greatest 

One of the most striking points in the intellectual development 
of all the Eskimo tribes is their wonderful talent for topography. 
The cases of the woman of Igloolik who drew a map for Parry, 
and of the Boothians who did the same for Eoss, and the interest- 
ing account of the old lady who " conned " the Fox up Pond's Inlet 
as if she had been a certified pilot from the Trinity House, are 
familiar to the readers of Arctic voyages. The same talent was 
displayed by our shipmate, Erasmus York, on board the Assist- 
ance. When asked by Captain Ommanney to sketch the coast, 
he took up a pencil, a thing he had never seen before, and deli- 
neated the coast-line from PiJcierlu to Cape York, with astonish- 
ing accuracy, making marks to indicate all the islands, remarkable 
cliffs, glaciers, and hills, and giving all their native names. " Every 
rock," says Dr. Kane, " has its name, every hill its significance." 
-^ The visitor who first sees a party of Arctic Highlanders will be 
at once struck by their merry, good-natured countenances, their 
noisy fun, and boisterous laughter. They have a true love of inde- 
pendence and liberty, and their mode of life has bred in them great 
powejs ^f endurance, cool presence of mind, and indomitable 
courage. Their ingenuity and skill are by no means contemptible, 
and their intellectual capacity, though inferior to that of many 
other savage people, is not altogether despicable. They do not 
hesitate to steal from the stranger, for whom they cannot be 
expected to have any fellow-feeling ; but when confidence is once 
established, they have proved themselves to be good men and true ; 
they undoubtedly saved the crew of the Advance from death, which 
was staring them in the face ; and Dr. Kane gives his testimony that 






" when troubles came upon biiu and his people, never have friends 
been more true than these Arctic Highlanders." 

We, of the old Assistance, can bear witness with regard to one of 
the members of this northern race, who, by his constant cheerful- 
ness and good humour, and his readiness to make himself useful, 
became a great favourite on board. Through the kindness of 
Admiral Ommanney he received an education in England, and 
went afterwards to Newfoundland, where he died in 1856. A lady, 
who wrote to announce his death, thus speaks of poor Erasmus 
York (Kallihirua) : " During his illness he was as patient and 
gentle as ever, and thankful for all that was done to relieve him. 
We all loved him for his true-heartedness, obedience, and kind- 
ness of disposition ; and I trust that we may not forget the example 
he gave us of forgiveness and forbearance under injury." The 
Arctic Highlanders are savages, but they are ingenious and intelli- 
gent — courageous as hunters, true and loyal to fiiends in distress, 
and capable, after instruction, of the highest virtues of civilised men. 

In conclusion, I will sum up the points which, after an examin- 
ation of the ethnology of the Arctic Highlanders, tend to corro- 
borate my theory of their origin and migrations. First, then, there 
is the evidence that they are not branches of any Eskimo tribe of 
America or its islands. The American Eskimos never go from 
their own hunting range for any distance to the inhospitable north. 
Except in the case of the Pond's Bay natives, who followed up the 
whalers for a specific reason in modern times, there is no instance 
of their having gone north ; and it is unreasonable to suppose that 
they would do so. The American Eskimos live in snow huts, the 
Arctic Highlanders in iglus built of stone ; the former have kayaks 
and bows and arrows, the latter have none; the Boothians use 
sledges of rolled-up seal- skin ; the Arctic Highlanders have sledges 
of bone. We have proofs, also, that the ancient wanderers who 
left traces along the Parry Islands, were the same tribe as the 
Arctic Highlanders, and distinct from the American Eskimos. 
The i-uins on the shores of the Parry Islands are identical with the 
stone iglus of the Arctic Highlanders, and unlike the habitations 
of the American Eskimos. The pieces of bone sledge-runners 
that were found among these ruins, are the same as those used by 
the former tiibe, while the Boothians (the nearest American 
Eskimos) use seal-skin runners. The bone which had been cut to 
form a duct for conducting melted snow into a cup, found by 
myself on Griffith Island, and the lamp picked up by Osborn on 
Cape Lady Franklin, are precisely similar articles to those now 
used by the. Arctic Ilighlaudcrs. 


We now come to the points of resemblance between the Arctic 
Highlanders and some Siberian tribes. In physiognomy and 
general appearance the Eskimos are unlike any other American 
people. The Eskimo language in vocabulary and grammatical 
construction is but a dialect of the language spoken by the Tuski, 
the joeople in the Gulf of Anadyr in Siberia. The angekoh super- 
stition of the Eskimo resembles, even in minute particulars, the 
Shamanism of Siberia. These points apply to the whole Eskimo 
race ; and, in proving that the Arctic Highlanders are distinct 
from the American Eskimo, I do not mean that they are not all the 
same race, speaking dialects of the same language, but that they 
have had no communication since tlieir ancestors left Siberia, and, 
crossing tho meridian of Behring Straits, wandered to the north- 
ward and eastward. The American Eskimo migrated at souie very 
remote period, from Siberia by way of Behring Strait ; and the 
Yiking Thorwald found them on the coast of Labrador in the tenth 
century. The migrations fi'om the northern coast of Siberia were 
later, and were caused by Central Asiatic encroachments from the 
eleventh to the fourteenth centuries. This exodus took a distinct 
and more northern route, along the coast of the Parry Islands, to 
Greenland. Such are the proofs that have convinced me that 
the cradle of the Eskimo race is to be found on the frozen tnndia 
of Siberia. 

Only a small rertinant of these ancient wanderers is represented 
by the Arctic Highlanders ; and, as I have already suggested, many 
parties as they arrived, continued their journey to the south, where 
they peopled Greenland. Others .probably took a more northern 
course. As to the Greenland population, the historical testimony 
of the Norsemen, and the universal tradition of the Greenlanders 
themselves, unite in affirming that the first Skroellings came from 
the north. ^ This is not the place for critically discussing the value 
of ancient Icelandic records, which have been most ably edited by 
learned Danes. Erom them we learn that the Norsemen were the 
first inhabitants of Gieenland, and that the present population first 
appeared, coming from the north, in the fourteenth century. How 
it was that the diminutive, though muscular and courageous, 
Skroellings overcame and annihilated their gigantic Scandinavian 
foes, must for ever remain a m3'stery. It may be that the Normans 
were first thinned down by disease, and greatly reduced in num- 
bers. One thing is certain : the Normans disappeared, leaving 

' John Sackheuse, when he first saw the Arctic Highlanders, immediately 
mentioned the universal tradition of his people that they originally came from 
the uortli, 


many ruins and runic inscriptions behind them, and the SkraOlings 
have taken their place. The modern Danish Eskimos have detailed 
traditions of the wars between their ancestors and the Kahhtna, 
which are represented in the curious woodcuts brought home by 
Sir Leopold McClintock, and have since been published by Di-. 
Eink, who, I understand, is of opinion that these Eskimo traditions 
are founded on historical facts. 

But it is the northern, and not the southern, migration of the 
Arctic Highlanders that now demands our attentive consideration. 
We here approach the very confines of the great unknown polar 
region, and we can discover indications of the existence of a polar 
l)opulation up to the very threshold of the Terra Incognita. Petersen 
tells us that he saw ruins of stone iglus to the northward of lati- 
tude 79' X., which were evidently upwards of two centuries old ; 
and the runner of a sledge was picked up beyond the Humboldt 
Glacier. Dr. Bessels found Eskimo remains still further north. 
Here, then, are the traces of wanderers coming south from the Polar 
region. Clavering, in 1823, met with two families in the most 
northern part of East Greenland, who must have come from the 
north, and have wandered completely round the still unknown 
northern shures of the great glacier-bearing continent of Greenland.^ 

These people had wandered away, or died out, when the Ger- 
man Expedition visited the same part of the coast in 1869-70, 
but numerous remains of their sojourn were found, consisting of 
graves, and iglus or huts.^ Much farther south, on the east coast 
of Greenland, Captain Graah, in 1829, found several places in- 
habited; and he gives a very interesting account,^ of these East- 
landers, as he called them, who in 1830 numbered not more than 
480 souls, in twelve different localities along the coast, from the 
Danebiog Islands to Cape Farewell. The Eastlanders also came 
from the north, and not from the west side rotxnd Cape Farewell. 

There is thus sufficient proof that people have reached the east 
coast of Greenland from the north, and, consequently, that they 
have wandered for many hundreds of miles over the unknown area, 
it is certain that their lemains will be found, and if there are 
polynias of open water, as at the north end of Baffin Bay, it is pro- 
bable that there are still inhabitants at the Xorth I'ole or near it. 

' We may infer that tliey did not come from the south, for the same reason 
that tlic American Eskim*; have never g(mo nortli to the Parry Islands. The 
East Greenland coast, from the Danebrog Islands to Hudson's " Hold with Hope," 
is so blocked iij) with eternal ice that no human being could there, certainly 
none would wamkr there, from tlu; morn g('iiial soutli. 

" See '(ierman Arctic E.\j)edilioii ' (,r 18(Ji)-70, chuj)tcr xiv. 

^ See 'Narrative of an Exiicdition tu the East Coast of Greenland,' by (Japt. 
W. A. Graah (Murray, l.S:}7), p[i. 114-121. 


They will have taken a route from Siberia to the Borth of the 
Parry Islands ; while another division of the wanderers passed 
along the southern shores, to the region between the Melville and 
Humboldt glaciers. But man is not the only animal that has 
journeyed round the northern side of Greenland. The musk-ox is 
not known in the inhabited parts of that region. It is a peculiarly 
American form. Yet the crew of the Polaris found it up Smith 
Sound, and the Germans met with it on the east coast. The little 
Mus Hudsonicus is also American, and unknown in West Greenland, 
and it also was found by Dr. Bessels. These are direct and posi- 
tive proofs of migrations along the northern face of Greenland from 
the American side, and of an inhabitable region, capable of sup- 
porting very large ruminants, within the unknown area. 

The problems thus indicated are among the most interesting that 
will occupy the attention of the Arctic Expedition. In the possible, 
if not probable, event of a new people being discovered, a list of 
words in ordinary use among their distant kindred in West Green- 
land will be needed for comparison. A sketch of the grammar 
from Crantz and Janssen, and some vocabularies, have therefore 
been prepared. The vocabularies have been collected from Admiral 
Washington's little book,^ with additions from Ciantz, Kane, 
Janssen,^ and Kleinschmidt.^ 

Names of Arctic Highlanders. 
{From Kane, Hayes, and Bessels.') 

Akomodah (K.), a fat boy in 1854, son of Metek. 

Alatah (H.). 

Amalatoh (K.), half-brother of Metek. 

Anak (K.), wife of Nessak. 

Amjeit (H.), "the catclier." Son o{ Kahlunet. Brother of Mrs. Hans. 

Aiiinguak (K.), wife of Marsumah. 

Arko (H.), " spear thrower." A boy of 12 in 1860. 

Aumanelik (K.), wife of Tellerk. 

Awahtok (K.). , 

Cheichenguak (H.). 


Itukichii (B.), a good hunter. 

Ivdllu (B.% wife of Itiikiehu. 

* Admiral Washington's vocabulary of Greenland Eskimo was drawn up for 
him by Mr. Nosted, a Danish Missionary, in 1852 ; and every word was gone 
over and revised by Erasmus York (Kalli-hirua), londer the supervision of the 
Eev. Henry Bailey, Warden of St. Augustine's College at Canterbury, and of Dr. 
Kost, then Professor of Sanscrit at that college. 

- ' Elementarbog i Eskimoernes Sprog til brug for Europseerne ved Colonierne 
i Gronland, bed,' E. C. Janssen. (Kjobenhavn, 1862.) 

^ ' Grammatik der Groul'andischen Sprache mit theilweisem Einschluss des 
Labradordialects,' von S. Kleinschmidt. (Berlin, 1851.) 


Kablunet (H.), " white skin." Wife of Tcheitchengmk. Died in 18G0. Mother of 
Mrs. Hans. 

Knhdah (,K.). 

KalU-hirua, or "Erasmus York." Came on board H.M.S. Assistance, 1850, at 
Cape York. At St. Augustine's, Canterbury. Died at St. John's, New- 
foundland, in 1S56. 

Kalutunah (K. and H.), the Angekok, aud, in 1860, Nalcgak of the tribe. The 
best hunter. 

Kartak H.), a girl engaged to Arko in 1860. 

Kesarsoak (H.), " white hairs." The oldest hunter in the tribe in 1860. 

Kresut (K.i, " driftwood." A blind old man. 

Marsumah (K.). 

Merkut (K.), wife of Hans. Daughter of Shang-hu. 

Metek (K.), " cider duck." Chief of Etah in IS;)!. 

Myuk (K. and H.), son of Metek. A loafer. One of Satan's light mfantry. 

Nessak (K.), "jumper huotl." 

Ntialik, ue' Eguok (K.), wife of Metek. 

Faulik (K.), nephew of Metek. 

Fingasuk [ H.), " the pretty one." Child of Hans. 

Sluin<]-hu (K.). 

Sip-s'u (K. and H.), " the handsome boy," murdered by Kalutunah. 

Tattcrut (K. and H.), " Kittiwake." Always out at elbows. A loafer. 

Tellerk CK.), " right arm." 

" Vtuniah (K. and H.) 

Note on the Orthography. 

A is to be sounded as in father when long, as the ti in but when short, 
E as in there, i as in ravme, o as in more, u as in fl«<te, ai as i in t«me, au as 
oiv in how, ok as oak. Ch as in church, g as in get, kh as ch in loch. 

The word Esquimaux is a term of the Do.s-rib Indians, meaning " flesh 
eaters," aud was first given to the Innuit by the French Canadians, whence 
the strange orthography. The simpler aud proper form, adopted by the 
Danes and by Admiral Washington, is Eskimo. 


Sketch of the Grammar. 

Tho first Eskimo grammar was by Hans Egedo, published in 
1760. The second, written by Konigseer, in 1780, is still in 
manuscript. That of Fabricius, who long resided in Greenland as 
a missionary, appeared in 1791. Kleinschmidt published his 
Eskimo grammar at Berlin, in 1850; and the vocabularies of 
Janssen appeared at Copenhagen in 1802. 

The Eskimo language belongs to the American group ; the nouns 
are declined by the addition of terminations to the roots, and tho 
adjective follows the substantive. There is a great abundance 
of modes of expression effected by processes of agglutination, 
the particles conveying various meanings, and moditicatious of 



There is no article, and the dual and phiral nouns are formed by 
the addition of particles ; thus : — 






Nimeit, land. 

. Uyarak 


U}-arket, stone 



Ighit, house. 



Innuit, num. 

Collective nouns have only the plural, and end in " it," as Iglu- 
perhsuit, a collection of houses. 

The genitive is formed by the addition of h, or of m if a vowel 
follows. ' The other cases are formed by adding the following par- 
ticles, acting as prepositions : — 

Mik, with, at, through. 

Mil, from. 

Mut, to. 

Mi, in, on. 

Kut, through, over. 

Agut, round. 

At, underneath. 

Kut, above. 

Suh, beyond. 

luito, behind. 

(Where ?) 
(Whence ?) 
(Whence ?) 
(How ?) 









further end. 







south side. 

Avanguek, north side. 









on land, 
from land, 
over land, 
to land, 
with land, 
in winter, 
in evening, 
with words. 

The meanings of nouns are also varied in numerous ways by the 
addition of particles. Of these the most common are the augmenta- 
tives and diminutives. SuaJc or suit means great ; as Nuna, land ; 
NunarsuaJc, great land. Kingmek, a dog ; Kingmersuah, a great dog. 
NguaJc, is small ; as, Kingminguak, a small dog. Gasalc denotes what 
belongs to or is part of anything ; as, TJmiak, a boat ; Uwiagasalc, 
what belongs to a boat. Inah and tuah are only, as Iglu, a 
house ; Igluinak, one house only. Ernek, a son ; Ernituak, an only 
son. Siat denotes ordinary size, neither large nor small ; as, Kakalc- 
siat, a middle-sized bill. Liah is a particle which denotes that the 
thing indicated by the noun to which it is attached was made by 
its owner as Iglerfik, a box ; Igerfilialc, his box made by him- 
self. Siah implies that the thing was bought as Savih, a knife ; 
Savihsiak, a purchased knife. Kasik, piluk, and rujuk, are adjectival 
particles, denoting respectively, folly, meanness, and depreciation, 
as Innuh, a man ; Innuhasik, a foolish man ; Innukfiluk, a mean man ; 



and Inmirujul; a contemptible man. Pait is a particle of multitude, 
as Ujarak, a stone ; UJararpait, many stones ; and Ujararpagsuit, a 
great many stones. Ngajah is a particle denoting mixture, as 
Kablunak, a Dane ; Kablunarigajak, a half-caste. Tdk and Tokdk are 
respectively old and new, as Anorak, clothes ; Anorartak, new 
clothes; Anorartokak, old clothes. M'lo means an inhabitant, as 
Narsak, a valley ; Narsarmio, a dweller in the valley. Minek is a 
piece of anything, as Kissiik, wood ; Kissuminek, a piece of wood. 
Nek is a participle termination, as Sinigpok, a sleeper ; Sinignek, 
sleeping ; while Fik forms a noun, as Igsiavhok, a sitter ; Igsiav- 
fik, a stool. Usek has a similar office, as Okarpok, a speaker ; Okar- 
usek, a word. 

The personal pronouns are : — 

Uanga, I. 
TJagut, we. 
Illit, thou. 

lllipsi, ye. 
Oma, he. 
Okkoa, they. 

The possessive pronouns are formed by the addition of particles 
to the root, as : — 

Nuna, land. 

Nunaga, my land. 
NunarpiU, our land. 
Nunat, thy land. 

Igluga, my house. 
Iglut, thy house. 

Iglu, house. 

Nunarse, your land. 

Nund Ntina7iga, his land. 
Nunartili, their land. 

Ighia, his house. 
Iglutit, thy house. 

When the signification is transitive, passing from one to another, 
the pronoun is declined differently, the endings being ama, my; 
auit, thy. As Nalegak, a chief; Nalegama, my chief; Nalegauit, 
thy chief does so and so to me, you, or him. 

The interrogatives are as follows : — 

What, suna. 
"VVheu, hakugo. 
Where, sumd. 

The relative pronouns are :- 
Those, Ivko. 

Which, snt. 
Who, kind. 
Whose, kid. 

That, ivna. 

The Vkrb. 
The veibs have been divided into five conjugations, according to 
their terminations : — 

1. Kj)ok as ermikpok, he washes himself. 

2. Kjjok „ matarpok, he, undresses. 

3. Pok „ egipok, lie casts away. 

4. Ok „ pyok, he gets. 

5. Au „ irsigau, he beholds. 



The negative goes through every mood and tense of every verb. 
It is expressed by ngilak, as ermingilaJc, he does not wash himself. 

The third person singular indicative is the root from whence all 
the other persons a reformed, by affixing the pronoun, as Ermik- 
poJc, he washes ; Ermikpotit, you wash. 

There are three tenses, present, preterite, and future. The pre- 
sent is indicated hj ap; the perfect by a, t or s ; and the future, in 
two forms, sav and goma ; as — 

JErmHipoh, he washes. 

Ermiksok, he has washed. 

Ermisavok, he will wash. 

Ermigomarpoh, he will wash sometime hence. 

The moods are six in number. The indicative in kpok ; the 
interrogative in kpa ; the imperative in two forms, one persuasive 
in na, the other more imperative in git ; the permissive also in two 
forms, one exacting, the other requesting, in gle and naunga; the 
causal in kame ; the conditional in kune ; and the infinitive in three 
forms. As : — 









1. Erinina, 

2, Ermigit, 

1. Ermigle, 

2. Erminaunga, 

he washes. 

does he wash ? 

please to wash. 


let me wash. 

because lie has washed, 
if he washes, 
to wash. 








he sees or saw him. 

did he see him V 

may he see him ? 

because he saw him. 

when he saw him. 


that he saw him. 

The verb pyoh, to do or get, is used in many cases in conjunc- 
tion with the infinitive of other verbs. 

The present indicative of the active verb is thus conjugated : — - 

He travels, 


He knows, 


You travel, 


You know, 


I travel, 


I know. 


They travel, 


They know. 


Ye travel, 


Ye know, 


We travel, 


We know, 


He loves, 


He sleeps, 


You love, 


Yon sleep, 


I love, 


I sleep, 


They love. 


They suffer. 


Ye love. 


Ye sufter, 


We love, 


We suffer, 




He comes. 
You come, 
I come, 




They come, aggerpiit. 
Ye come, aggi-rpuse. 
We come, aggerpugut. 

The conjugations, tbroiigh all moods and tenses, are effected by 
the use of the personal pronouns ; and there are transitions, when 
the action passes from one person to another, as in several American 
languages : as — 

He washes himself, ermiTipok. 

You wash yourself, ermihputit. 

1 wash myself, ermilipunga. 

They wash themselves, ermihput. 

They two wash themselves, ermikjmk. 

Ye wash yourselves, ermikpuse. 

We wash ourselves, ermikpugut. 

W^e two wash ourselves, ermikpuguk. 

Every mood and tense is thus inflected with the suffixes of the 
persons, ringing the changes in each transition ; as, he washes 
himself, he washes you, he washes me, he washes them, he washes 
us ; and so with all the other persons. For example, to conjugate 
through all the persons washing a third person we have — 

He washes him, ermikpa. 
You wash him, ermikpet. 
I wash him, ermikpara. 

They wash him, ermikpcet. 
Ye wash him, erinikjiarse. 
We wash him, ermikparput. 

He sees it. 


He sees me, takuvdnga 

You see it, 


You see her, takuvatk. 

I see it. 


The fox sees it, terianiak takuvd. 
The fox saw him, terianiap takuvd. 

The participle, which supplies the place of an adjective, is the 
same as the preterite, ErmiJcsoJc, washed. The future is Ermissirsoh, 
he will wash. 

The principal auxiliary verb is pyoh ; with which, or with 
various particles, an infinity of words are formed into one, the last 
only being conjugated. Crantz gives an instance of this, where a 
single word expresses what in English requires seventeen : — " He 
says that you also will go away quickly in like manner and buy a 
pretty knife." In Eskimo this is — Savigihsiniariartohamaromary- 
ot'iUogog — composed as follows : — 


a knife. 






go uwuy 






in like manner 






lie suys. 



The Eskimo language is peculiar in the use of the affirmative 
and negative conjunctions, aj) and iiagga. To the question, Pioma- 
ngilatit, "Wilt thou not have this?" if the questioned person will 
have it, he must answer, nagga, " No." If he will not have it, he 
must say, ap, " Yes," — -piomangilanga, " I will not have it." 




Male, angut. Female, arnat. 

Whale, magtagdlit, arwek. 

Sperm whale, kegutilik. 
Bottle-nose, Mporhak, nisarnah, 

White whale, kilakak. 
Narwhal, tugalik, kernertok. 

Fin fish, 
Little finner 







Walrus auvek, aruek. 

Bearded seal, ugsuk, usuk. 
Hooded seal, kakortak, ndtsiersuak. 

Harp seal, atak, atarsuak, atarneit- 

Hispid seal, natsek, natsidlak. 

Parts of Whalis and Seals, cp-c. 

Whale bone, sorkak. 

Blubber, ossuk. 

Walrus tusk, togak. 

Seal's fore-tlipper, tellerok tallik 

Bear, nanuk. 

Wolf, amaruk. 

Fox, terianiak. 

Seal's hind-flipper, okfotik. 
Ivory, saunek. 

Seal hole, atlick {agio ?) 


Blue fox, terianiak kernetok. 
White fox, terianiak kakortak. 
Dog, kingmek. 


Keindeer, tuktu. 

Great reindeer, angisok, panguek, 

Doe, kulavak. 

Hare, ukalek, tulukat. 
Eat, kitsuk. 

Young deer, noraitsok. 
Fawn, norkak. 

Musk ox, uming-mak. 


I Mouse, teriak. 






naksuk, agiak. 
mituk, illupakot. 

Parts of Reindeer. 

Venison, nekke. 
Liver, tinguk. 


Birds of Prey. 

Bird, tingmiak. 

Cinereous eagle, nngtoralik. 
Gyi* falcon, kingsaviarsuk, 


Great snowy owl, ugpik or opik. 

Raven, tuluvak. 

Divers and Guillemots. 

Great auk, isarukitsok. 

Cormorant, okaitsok. 

Great northern diver, tugdlik. 

Ked-throated diver, karsak. 

Little auk. 




Glaucous gull, nayak. 
Kittiwake, taterak. 
Fulmar petrel, kakugdluk. 

Ivory gull, najuarssuk. 
Skua, isargak. 
Tern, imerkutailak. 

Ducks and Geese. 

Swan, kugsuk. 
Brent goose, nerdlek. 
King duck, kingalik. 

Eider duck, metek. 
Long-tailed duck, agdlek. 
Harlequin duck, tornaviasuk. 

Ptarmigan, Snipe, &c 

Ptarmigan, akigsek. 
Plover, kajordlak. 
Snipe, taluifak. 
Phalarope, sarforsuk. 

Finches, &c. 

er, kayungoak. 

Snow bunting, korpanuk. 
„ „ korpaluMrmk. 
„ „ koparnarsuk. 
„ „ kapiarak. 

Snow bunting, tirgivok, agdlorpol 
„ „ mipok, pikiarpok, 

Parts of Birds, 

Quill, gullok. 
Feather, initkut. 
Wing, ixarkok. 
Tail, papink. 
































Bull head. 


Red char, 







Star fish, 






Wood, kissuk (kresut of Kane). 

Tree, orpik. 

Bush, netarkok. 

Dwarf willow, sersut, nunangiait. 

Dwarf birch, avalakissat. 

Crowberry, paurnak. 

Bilberry, kigulernek. 

WhortlelDerry, kingmernset. 

Scurvy grass, kungordlet. 

Grass, ivik. 

Reed, ivuikot. 




Chib moss, 











maunek, tingauset. 

kod yutit, ti-rauyat, o-ka- 

sordlait, sorilak. 
karke, nuni-verset. 

Men and Spirits. 

Human being, innuk. 

Mankind, innuit. 

Man of Greenland, karalit. 
Man not of Greenland, innuit tekornartet. 
Dane, Kahlunah. 

Englishman, Tulluk. 

Dutchman, Arseniak. 

Chief, jialegak. 

Priest (" He is very angekok. 

Wizard, issuitok, ilUoitsok. 

" He that is above," pirksoma (Egede). 
Good spirit, torngarsuk (Crantz, 

i. p. 206). 

A spirit, familiar. 

Inhabitant of the air, 

Evil spirit of the air. 

Sea spirits, 

Fire spirits. 

Mountain spirit, 

Evil si^irits, 

Genius of the winds. 

Genius of food, 


The famous wise one. 



A tribunal of redress, 











angehut poglit. 




Human Beings. 







vieruk, kittornak. 

Old man. 
Old woman, 

ittok, angutokak. 



Relationships, Ceremonies, &c. 

Ancestors, angejokait. 

Father, atatak. 

Mother, annanak. ' 

Father or mother-in-law, sekke. 
Husband, wr/a, uinga. 

Wife, nuklia, nulli- 

Son, erninga. 

Daughter, pannik. 

Brother, kattangut. 

Sister, kattangut-ar- 

Uncle, akkek, angak. 

Aunt, ayak, aitsak. 


illet, ikingut. 

















Parts of the Body. 

Body, time. \ 


Skin, Innuh amid'? (W.) amek. 


Head, niakok. 

Left hand. 

Brains, karresak. 

Right hand, 

Forehead, ka-uk. 


Face, kenak. 


Hair, nutsak. 

Middle finger 

Beard, umik, ersarutit. 

Little finger. 

Eye (Irse, HansEgede), ise. 


Eyelash, kemeriak. 


Tears, kohlit. 


Nose, kinyak. 


Mouth, kanek. 


Teeth, kigutit. 


Tongue, okak. 


Gums, itkiika. 


Breath, annernek. 


Lip, kartlo. 


Cheek, ulluak. 


Chin, tajilo. 


Ear, siut. 


Neck, koiigesek. 


Windpipe, kingak, tortluk. 

Shoulder, tu^. 


Back, kattigok. 

Backbone, kemerluk. 


Side, sennarak. 


Breast, sekkiok. 

Foot print. 

Lungs, puak. 


Heart, umat. 


Bosom, inengek. 


Milk, imuk. 


Arm (right), tellerk. 


„ above the elbow, aksaut. 


„ below the elbow, aksarkok. 


Elbow, ikusik. 













nak, neksek. 






ukpet, koktorak. 


siskok, serkok. 

kannah (Hans 

Egoile), niu. 


p 2 



House and Furniture. 


Winter entrance. 













sinik-vik, sinik- 

puyok, iseriek. 


kotluk, kollfik 






utak (Kane). 






Hoop for tent, 



Tent pole, 




Dressed leather. 

Fox-skin jumper. 

Under jacket, 





auorak, auorakset. 





kavoyak, uUksoak. 

arkdt merkusalik, 

karlik, nannuk. 


Band for a wo- 
man's hair. 
Skin shirt, 


allerse (Crantz). 




sapang-at, tuglautit. 



Dog harness. 




Woman's boat, 



Seal-bladder float, 

Moveable lance-head. 

Spear for large seal. 

Spear for small seal. 

Whale spear. 

Deer spear, 

Line of seal -skin, 





Quiver and bow-case 


pudlet. tutdet. 
umiak. ■ 
paufik, eput. 
tuiaJi, naligelt. 
na.rkok, karsok. 
aJak ardlet. 
aklunak (■^). 

pok, pisiksek. 

Stone arrow-head, 

karkovit, ullugsak, 








ullimout, sennin- 



tdk tona. 



okommersak, kar- 
Bone instrument fori 

discovering seals > sekko, saumermit. 
under the ice, ) 

Dart for birds. 
Three -pronged dart, 

Stone knife, 
Woman's knife, 









Times aki 














ukipok, iiklok. 







Sky (cloudy), 



itiiuk, ketka. 




tilAami, utlakut. 









Aurora Borealis, 



kaumot, annin 










sekkernvh-tarksetsek. | 






7neriusak, pusisak. 








It thunders, 







North wind, 

avanguak, awawjuek. 

South-east wind, 


South wind, 


North-east wind. 


East wind, 


It is calm, 


West wind. 


Open air. 


South-west w 

ind, kigek. 



















aglaut, kakorlok. 





Valley, level land, narsak. 














aumarutikset, au 


imiiak, imnarsak. 


Reef of rock. 



kerchok, kerchur 
































siorkct, siorak. 


kannik, aput. 








luijak, illuliak. 












imarpiksoak, imaksoak. 




, ulle. 



Water, imak, ermit. 
Bay, lake, kangerluk. 
Fiord, inlet, kangerlersuk, tessek. 
Stream, sarwak, kogeisiak. 


kouk, kouksoak. 


























arwenguet-pingasut. ■^ 





auwiktok, keterkot. 




olikpok, heyulerpok. 






Size a 

ND Form. 










puellawok, kuiniwok. 








amitsok, sellusok. 

ter'kerkolik, to-artok. 







Blind, takpepok. 

Deaf, tusilarpok, tusianipok.--^ 

Dumb, okauitsoh. 

Be silent ! nipang-erniarit. 

Beauty, pinnersusek. 

Very beautiful, pirivigpok. 

Handsome, pinnersok. 
Pretty, innekonak: 
Strong, nekoarpok, pisuk 
. Weak, kayerguartok. 
True ilumut. 



Adverbs of Place. 









North or right 

d). }-'• 

Above (landwards), pik. 

(looking seawar 

Seawards or wes 

;, kan. 

South or left 

d), !^"«^- 

South, where tht 

sun goes, kig. 

(looking seawar 







Verbs (ulphabeticaiy 

He is able, 

pikJcorik-pok, sinna- 

He counts, 



He is courageous 

, erksing-ilak. 

He accepts. 


He covers. 


He accompanies 

, ai/paru-ok. 

He is cowardly. 


He is alive. 

inguicok, umasok. 

He creeps. 


He alters. 


He crosses over, 


He is angry. 


He is cruel, 

anniar-titsiok, erksi 

He answers, 



He approaches, 


He cries, 


He is arrived, 


He cuts, 


He asks, 

aperaok, apersorpok. 

It is damp, 


He is awake, 

iterpok, erkomaicok. 

He dances, 


He is away. 

tamak, aularpok. 

He dares, 


He is bad, 


It is dangerous, 


He is bald. 


It is dark, 


She is bashful. 

kangusak-pok, tessit- 

He is dead. 



It is deep, 


He beats. 


He defends. 


He be.irs, 

kenuwok, tuksiapok. 

He denies. 


He beholds, 


He destroys. 


He believes, 

operpok, isamaivok. 

He dies, 


He bellows, 


It is difficult, 


It bends, 


He is dirty. 


It blazes, 


It is distant, 


It bleeds, 


He disputes, 


It blocks up. 


He dives. 


He blows, 


He dives as a seal 

, pullavok. 

He blows (as a auuersarpok. 

He divides, 



He doctors. 


It boils. 


He does. 

piyok, illiorpok. 

He is born, 


He drags. 


He bows, 


He ilreams, 


He brings. 


He dresses. 


It is broken, 


He drinks. 


It bums, 


He drives, 


He buys, 


It drops. 


He carries, 


He drowns. 


He casts away. 


He is drunk, 


He cheats. 


It is dry. 

pauui ipok. 

He is cheerful, 


He eats. 


He chews, 


It is empty. 


He chooses, 


He eml)arks. 


He chops. 


Ho exchanges. 


He climbs, 


He faints. 


He comes. 


It falls, 


He comniaudb, 


He is far off. 


He cooks, 


He makes fast. 


He coughs, 


He is fat, 

pueUawok, kidn iirok. 



Verbs — continued. 

He is fatigued, 
He is feeble, 
He feeds, 
He feels. 
He fetches. 
They are few. 
He finds, 
It is finished. 
He fishes. 
He flies, 
It floats. 
He follows, 
He forbids, 
He forgives, 
It freezes. 
He gets, 
Give me. 
He is glad, 
He gnaws, 
He goes, 
Go down ! 
Go in! 
Go out ! 
He is gone, 
I am good. 
He is great. 
It grazes (deer), 
He is greedy, 
He groans, 
It grows, 
He hangs. 
It is hard. 
He made haste, 
He hears. 
He is healthy, 
It is heavy. 

He is tall, 
It is high. 
Hold fast, 
He is honest. 
He hopes, 
How do you do ? 
He is hungry. 
He is idle. 
He jumps, 
He kicks, 
He kills, 
He is kind. 
He kisses. 
He kneels, 
He ties a knot, 
He unties a knot. 
He knows, 
He laughs. 
He leads, 
He learns. 
He lends. 
He licks. 
He lius down. 

kassuwok, nungawok. 


































ke avok, atsuilivok. 

okemeipuk, arktoruer- 


kannong-illettit ? 


He lifts. 
He is living. 
He looks, 
He loosens. 
He loves. 
She loves him. 
He meets him, 
He is merry, 
It melts. 
He mourns, 
He murders. 
He is naked, 
He nods. 
He obeys. 
Ho is old, 
It oversets. 
He paddles. 
He pants, 
He plucks off. 
He plugs up. 
He pours, 
He pricks. 
He pulls. 




porpok, pellukpok. 





















H e pulls one's hair, nutsukpok. 
He punishes, pitlai-pok. 






piok, tiguvok. 



the ullitsar-torpok. 







alley en-orpok. , 



ketsukpok, kumiptok. 

tortlorpok, nippanotit. 

He purchases. 
He pushes, 
It is putrid, 
He is quiet, 
It rains, 
He raises, 
He receives ! 
Remember ! 
He returns, 
That is right, 
It rises (as 

He is a rogue, 
It rolls, 
It is rough, 
It is round. 
He rubs, 
He runs, 
He is sad, 
He saves, 
He says, 
He scratches. 
He screams, 
He is gone seal- auguni-arpok, arkij- 

He sees him, 
He sells it, 
He sends, 
She sews. 
It shines, 
He shovels, 
He shouts. 
He is sick. 
He sighs. 




Verbs — continued. 

He sings, 

It sinks. 
Sit down, 
He slaps. 
He sleeps, 
It slides down. 
He is slow. 
He is small. 
He smells. 
He smiles. 
It smokes, 
It is smooth, 
He sneezes. 
He snores, 
It snows, 
It is soft. 
It is sore, 
He speaks, 
He spits, 
He splits it, 
He squeezes. 
He stabs, 
He steals. 

He stretches, 
He strikes him. 

He is strong, 
She suckles, 
He suffers. 
He is surprised, 

illerkorsorpok, imner- 

ka n lie rpok, n iptarpok. 
unikpit, tessd ! 
unartarpa, tigluksak- 

tettamiok, tupigosuk- 


He swallows. 
He sweats, 
It swells. 
He swims, 
Take away ! 
Take care ! 
Take it ! 
He talks. 
He teaches. 
He tears, 
I am thirsty, 

It thaws, 
He throws a spear, 
He tickles. 
He tit'S, 
I am tired. 
He travels. 
He trembles. 
He twists, 
He undresses, 
He vomits. 
He walks, 
He washes. 
He watches, 
He is well. 
Well done 1 
He went. 
It is wet, 
He whips. 
He whistles. 
He is young, 











imeruktunga, killaler- 

aunatok (Kane). 
ingerlesok-autdla rpok . 

• Washington h is sinniktok. 




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Emerging fr 
the water." 

lekah; '' elder 

Having birds" 
Large Island " 
Soap-stouG " 
Kittiwakes " 
Small islands" 
Largo bay " 




<= 6 
c3 > 


[ace {fiJc) wher 
younger sister 
brotlier Om/ro 
lias been lost (e 
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( 230 ) 


By Henry Eink, Director of the Danish Colonies in Greenland.^ 

The author, who has travelled and resided in Greenland for twenty- 
years, and has studied the native traditions, of which he has preserved 
a collection, considers the Eskimo as deserving particular attention 
in regard to the question how America has been originally peopled. 
He desires to draw the attention of ethnologists to the necessity of 
explaining, by means of the mysterious early history of the Eskimo, 
the apparently abrupt step by which these people have been changed 
from probably inland or river-side inhabitants into a decidedly 
littoral people, depending entirely on the products of the Arctic 
Sea ; and he arrives at the conclusion that, although the question 
must still remain doubtful, and dependent chiefly on further inves- 
tigations into the traditions of the natives occupying adjacent 
countries, yet, as far as can now be judged, the Eskimo appear to 
have been the last wave of an aboriginal American race, which has 
spread over the continent from more genial regions, following prin- 
cipally the rivers and water- courses, and continually yielding to the 
pressure of the tribes behind them, until at last they have peopled 
the sea-coast. 

In the higher latitudes, the contrast between sea and land, as 
affording the means of subsistence, would be sufficient to produce a 
corresponding abrupt change in the habits of the people, while 
further to the south the change would be moie gradual. The water- 
courses which may have led the original inland Eskimo down to the 
sea-coast might probably have been the rivers draining the country 
between the Mackenzie and the Athna rivers (? Athabasca). 

The same country also seems to afford the most probable means 
of explaining the uniformity observable in the development of 
Eskimo civilisation, which to some extent is still maintained amongst 

' An article in the 'Me'moires de la Societe Royale des Antiquaires du 
Nord.' (From tlie 'Journal of ttie Anthropological Institute,' April 1872.) 


them upon the rivers and lakes in that part of America. This de- 
velopment must have been promoted by the necessity of co-operatin"- 
for mutual defence against the inland people ; but as soon as a certain 
stage of development was attained, and the tribes spread over the 
Arctic coasts towards Asia on the one side and Greenland on the 
other, the further improvement of the race appears to have ceased, 
or to have been considerably checked. 

The author draws a comparison between the Eskimo and the 
nations adjoining them, both in Asia and America, in regard to their 
ai't^ of subsistence, language, social laws, customs, traditions, and 
other branches of culture, particularly dwelling on their traditions, 
of which he has collected a great number from all the inhal>ited 
places on the east side of Davis Straits, together with some from 
East Greenland and Labrador. He shows that an astonishing re- 
semblance exists between the stories received from the most distant 
places, as, for instance, between those of Cape Farewell and Labra- 
dor, the iiihabitants of which appear to have had no intercourse with 
each other for upwards of a thousand years. As the distance from 
Cape Farewell to Labrador, by the ordinaiy cbannels of Eskimo 
communication, is as far as from either of those two places to tlie 
most western limit of the Eskimo region, it may bo assumed that a 
certain stock of traditions is more or less common to all the tribes of 
Eskimo. The author's studies have led him to the following con- 
clusions : 1. That the principal stock of traditions were not invented 
from time to time, but originated duiing the same stage of their 
migrations, in which the nation developed itself in other branches 
of culture ; viz., the period during which they made the great step 
from an inland to a coast people. The traditions invented subse- 
quent to this are more or less composed of elements taken from the 
older stories, and have only had a more or less temporary existence, 
passing into oblivion during the lapse of one or two centuries. 
2. That the real historical events upon which some of the principal 
of the oldest tales are founded, consisted of wars conducted against 
the same hostile nations, or of journeys to the same distant countries ; 
and that tlie original tales were subsequently localised, the piesent 
narrators pretending that the events took place each in the country 
in which they now reside — as, for instance, in Greenland, or even 
in special disiricts of it. By this means it has come to pass that 
the men and animals of the original tales, which are wanting in tho 
localities in which the several tribes have now settled, have been 
converted into supernatural beings, many of vvhich are now sup- 
posed to be occupying tho unknown regions in the interior of 


In accordance with these views, the author explains some of the 
most common traditions from Greenland as simply mythical narra- 
tions of events occurring in the far north-west corner of America, 
thereby pointing to the great probability of that district having been 
the original home of the nation, in which they first assumed the 
peculiarities of their present culture. The Greenlander's tales about 
" inland people " are compared with what is known about the present 
intercourse of the Eskimo with the interior of that part of America, 
such as instances of relationship between the people of the coast and 
the interior, sudden and murderous attacks of the latter, and a very 
remarkable story about an expedition to the interior for the purpose 
of getting copper knives from the inland people. Lastly, there are 
some tales about the country beyond the sea called Akilinek, and 
about the training of wild animals for sledge expeditions to this 
country, in order to recover a woman carried off by some inhabitants 
of that country. When we consider the existing intercourse between 
the inhabitants on both sides of Behring Straits, we find many cir- 
cumstances to justify the conclusion that those traditions of the 
Greenland Eskimo refer to the origin of the Eskimo sledge-dog 
from the training of the Arctic wolf, to the first journeys upon the 
frozen sea, and to intercourse between the aboriginal Eskimo and 
the Asiatic coast. 

( 233 ) 



Observations on the Western Eskimo, and the Country they inhabit ; 
from Notes taken during tivo years at Point Barrow. By Mr. John 
Simpson, Surgeon, r.n., Her Majesty's Discovery Ship, Flover} 

The term Western Eskimo is usually understood to apply to 
all the people of that race who are found to the west of the 
Mackenzie Kiver, but as they form two distinct communities, whose 
nearest respective settlements are separated by an interval of three 
hundred miles of coast, it is proper to state that the term is at 
present restricted to the more western branch. The tract of 
country exclusively inhabited by them is that small portion of the 
north-western extreme of the American continent included by a 
line extended between the mouth of the Colville Kiver and the 
deepest angle of Norton Sound, and the coast-line from the latter 
through Behring Straits and the Arctic 'Sea back to the Colville. 
The seaboard for a little way to the south of Norton Sound is also 
occupied by a few scattered families of the same race. As these 
people divide themselves into numerous sections, named after the 
portions of land they inhabit or the rivers flowing througli them, it 
will be convenient, before speaking more particularly of themselves, 
to give some account of the country as described by them. The 
information is principally derived from the people of Point Barrow, 
some of whom have travelled and lived for a time in ditfercnt 
localities, and from strangers who came to visit them during the 
time of the Plover's stay at that place. 

By Captain Beechey's survey, the south and western part of this 
district will be seen to be mountainous and deeply indented by 
arms of the t^ea, but the northern and more inland portions have 
been examined to only a short distance from the coast. The natives 
of Point Barrow describe the latter as uniformly low, and full of 
small lakes or pools of fresh water to a distance of about fifty miles 

> From ' Further Papers relative to the Kcceiit Arctic Expeditions in Boarrh of 
Sir John Franklin.' rariiiujicnttiry Keports, 18.j.'). 


from the north shore, where the surface becomes undulating and 
hilly, and, farther south, mountainous. The level part is a peat- 
like soil covered with moss and tufty grass, interspersed with 
brushwood, perfectly free from rocks or stones, and only a little 
gravel is seen occasionally in the beds of rivers. The bones of 
the fossil elephant and other animals are found in many localities, 
and the tusks of the former are used for some purposes. Small 
pieces of amber are also frequently found in the pools inland, or 
floating on the sea, to which they have been carried in the summer 
by the floods. The whole is intersected in various directions by 
rivers, which are traversed by boats in the summer and by sledges 
in the winter. Many of the streams seen from the coast become 
united, or have a common origin in some pool in the interior, and 
sometimes offer a short channel from bay to bay, deep enough for 
boats, which thus avoid a more circuitous and inconvenient passage 
round the coast. 

The largest and best known rivers are four, all of which take their 
rise far to the south-east in a mountainous country, inhabited by 
Indians. The most northerly of these is the Kang'-e-a-nok, which 
flows some distance westward, then turns northward, receiving on 
its right bank two tributaries, called the A'-nak-tok and Kil'-lek, 
At a distance of probably one hundred miles from the coast it 
divides into two streams, the eastern of which follows a nearly 
north course to the Arctic Sea, one hundred and forty miles east of 
Point Barrow, where it has been identified with the Colville. It 
bears the native name of Nig'-a-lek Kok, or Goose Kiver, and is 
said to receive a large tributary at thirty miles from its mouth, 
called the It'-ka-ling Kok, or Indian River, coming in from the 
mountains in the east. The other division flows through the level 
country nearly due west to fall into Wainwright Inlet, ninety miles 
S.W. of Point Barrow, when it is named Tu-tu-a-ling, but is more 
generally known as Kok or Kong, " the River." The next is called 
the Nu-na-tak', also a large river, whose source is very close to that 
of the Colville ; but instead of turning, like the latter, northward, 
it pursues a westerly course through the heart of the country ; 
then, bending to the south and a little east, falls into Hotham Inlet, 
near its opening into Kotzebue Sound, This certainly, in the 
estimation of the Point Barrow people, is the most important river 
in their country, and gives its name to by far the larger portion of 
the inhabitants of the interior. At one point of its course it 
approaches so near a bend of the Colville that boats can be trans- 
ported in less than two days from one river to the other. The K6- 
wak is the next in order as well as in size and importance, chiefly 


on account of a few mineral substances procured in its neigbbour- 
bood, and beld in esteem by tbe natives of tbe coast. It also flows 
westward, and tben bends southward to join Hotbam Inlet near its 
eastern end. The fourth is the Si'-la-wik, which, having a more 
southerly origin, follows a more direct westerly course, and empties 
itself into a large lake, communicating with tbe eastern extreme of 
tbe same inlet near the mouth of the K6-wak. All these rivers 
have been identified by different ofiiceinj from tbe Plover having 
A'isited their embouchures, and those falling into Hotbam Inlet were 
found bordered with large pine trees. Tbe natives add, that trees 
also grow on the banks of the rivers in some parts of the interior. 
The other rivers along the north and north-west coast are small and 
baldly known, except to persons who have visited them ; and the 
Buckland and others to the southward are but little spoken of by tbe 
people generally, although aware of their existence. 

The largest settlements are at Point Barrow, Cape Smyth, Point 
Hope, and Cape Prince of Wales, which are never altogether deserted 
in the summer; but besides these, there are numerous points along 
the coast, as at Wainwrigbt Inlet, Icy Cape, the shores of Kotzebue 
Sound, i'ort Clarence, and Norton Sound, where there are smaller 
settlements or single huts, occupied in the winter but generally 
abandoned in tbe summer. 

The inhabitants state, that the sea affords them several varieties 
of whale, only one of which is usually pursued, the narwhal (occa- 
sionally), the walrus, four different sorts of seal, the polar bear, and 
some small fish ; the inlets and rivers yield them the salmon, the 
heiTing, and the smelt, besides other kinds of large and small fish; 
and on the land, besides abundance of berries and a few edible roots, 
are obtained the reindeer, the imna (an animal which nearly answers 
to the description of the argali or Siberian sheep), the hare, the 
brown or black bear, a few wolverines and martens, the wolf, the 
lynx, blue and black foxes, the beaver, musk-rats and lemmings. 
In summer, birds are very numerous, particularly geese in the 
interior and ducks on the coast. The ptitrniigan and raven remain 
throughout the winter, and the latter is the only living thing wo 
know to be rejected as food. Black-lead, and several varieties of 
stones for making whet-stones, arrow-heads, and labrets, and for 
striking fire, are also enumerated as the produce of the land and 
articles of barter. The articles in common use, fur which they 
are indebted to strangers, are kettles, knives, tobacco, beads, and tin 
for making pipes, almost all of which come from Asia. English 
knives and beads are also in use, and within these few years, at 
Point Barrow, the Hudson's Buy musket and ammunition. Tbe 


skin of tho wolverine is held in liigh esteem, and is, like the 
English goods, procured from the Indians, occasionally directly, but 
most commonly through their more eastern brethren at Barter 
Point. The latter also supply narwhal-skins, large lamps or oil- 
burners, made of stone, which form part of the furniture of every 

The great trading places are King-ing, at Cape Prince of Wales, 
Se-en'-a-ling, at the mouth of the Nu-na-tak, Nig'-a-lek, at the 
mouth of the Colville, within their own country ; and Nu-wu-ak, 
at Point Barter, to the eastward, between all of which there is a 
yearly communication. It might be expected that the Eussian ports 
near Norton Sound would supply the Russian goods, but such is not 
the case, as they are all, or nearly all, brought from the Kokh'-lit 
Nuna, as they call Asia. They say four or five Asiatic boats cross 
the Straits after midsummer, proceeding from East Cape to the 
Diomede Islands, and thence to Cape Prince of Wales, where trade 
is carried on with people belonging to the neighbourhood of Norton 
Sound, Port Clarence, &c. The boats then proceed along the shore 
of Kotzebue Sound until the high land, near Cape Krusenstern 
comes into view, when they steer by it for Hotham Inlet, and 
encamp at Se-su-a-ling. At this place, towards the latter end of 
July, people from all the coast and rivers to a great distance meet, 
and an extensive barter takes place among the Esquimaux them- 
selves, as well as with the Asiatics, amid feasting, dancing, and 
other enjoyments. A large proportion of the goods falls into the 
hands of the people living on the Nu-na-tak, who carry it into the 
interior, and either transfer it to others, or descend the Colville 
with it themselves the following year, to meet their friends from 
Point Barrow. At the Colville the same scene of b9,rter and 
amusement takes place in the latter part of July, and early in 
August the goods are carried to Point Barter by the Point Barrow 
traders, to be exchanged for the English and other produce of the 
east. The Nu-na-tung'-meun, or Nu-na-tak people, thus become 
the carriers of the Eussian kettles, knives, &c., to be found along 
the north coast, and being known only by name to the inhabitants 
east of the Colville as the people from whom these articles are pro- 
cured, it is easy to perceive how Sir J. Franklin and Mr. Simpson 
were led to conjecture that a Eussian port existed upon that river, 
and that the agents residing there were called Nu-na-tang'-meun. 
The word Nu-na-tak appears to signify " inland," from its being 
commonly applied to persons coming fi-om any part of the interior ; 
but they do not use any corresponding word to comprehend the 
different tribes on the coast. 


The number of inhalntants within the first-named boundaries 
does not, from all we can learn, exceed 2o00 souls, and is probably 
little more than 2000, all of whom have the same characteristics of 
form, feature, language, and dress, and follow, with little variation, 
according to the locality, whether on the coast or in the interior, 
the same habits and pursuits. The remarks which follow, therefore, 
though more particularly referring to the people of Point Barrow, 
will be equally applicable to them all. 

Point Barrow is the northern extreme of this part of the American 
continent, consisting of a low spit of sand and gravel projecting to 
the north-east. Its length is about four miles, and it is little more 
than a quarter of a mile in average breadth, but expands consider- 
ably at the extremity, where it rises to about sixteen feet in height, 
and sends out to the E.S.E. a low narrow ridge of gravel to a 
distance of more than two miles, succeeded in the same direction by 
a row of sandy islets, enclosing a shallow bay of considerable 
extent. The assemblage of winter huts is placed on the expanded 
and more elevated extremity, where there is a thin layer of grassy 
turf. It is called Nu-wuk, or Noo-wook, which signifies emphati- 
cally "The Point." No doubt the settlement owes its existence 
to the proximity of the deep sea, in which the whale can be success- 
fully pursued in the summer and autumn, and to the great extent 
of shallow waters around, where the seal may be taken at any season 
of the year. The number of inhabited huts in the winter of 
1852-3 was fifty-four, reduced to forty-eight in the succeeding year 
in consequence of the scarcity of oil to supply so many fires, besides 
a few others which do not seem to have been tenanted for several 
years, and two dance-houses. The total population at the end of 
1853 was 309, of whom 166 were males and 143 females. The older 
people say their numbers are much diminished of late yeais, a 
statement to the truth of which the remains of a third dance-house 
and the number of unoccupied huts bear silent testimony. The 
latter are in some degree taken care of as if to preserve the right of 
OAvnership, and to prevent their being pulled down. Further, a 
disease, which from description seems to have been influenza, is said 
to have carried ofi" no less than forty people in the commencement 
of the winter of 1851-2. In 1852-3 the births we heard of were 
four or five, and the deaths about ten ; and within the last twelve- 
month, when our information was more accurate, we noted only 
four births, but no fewer than twenty-seven deaths, most of which 
occurred from famine, reducing the population at the present time 
to 286. The settlement at Tape Smyth, about tun miles distant, con- 
sisting of forty huts, and having about three-fourths tlio inhabitants. 


has been reduced in a more than proportionate degree, having lost 
forty people since July 1853. Some of these had fled in the depth 
of winter from their own cold hearths to seek food and warmth at 
Nu-wuk, where, finding no relief, they perished miserably on the 
snow. These people are by no means the dwarfish race they were 
formerly supposed to be. In stature they are not inferior to many 
other races, and are robust, muscular, and active, inclining rather to 
spareness than corpulence. The tallest individual was found to be 
5 feet 10^ inches, and the shortest 5 feet 1 inch. The heaviest 
man weighed 195 lbs., and the lightest 125 lbs. The individuals 
weighed and measured were taken indiscriminately as they visited the 
ship, and were all supposed to have attained their full stature. Their 
chief muscular strength is in the back, which is best displayed in 
their games of wrestling. The shoulders are square, or rather 
raised, making the neck appear shorter than it really is, and the 
chest is deep ; but in strength of arm they cannot compete with our 
sailors. The hand is small, short, broad, and rather thick, and the 
thumb appears short, giving an air of clumsiness in handling any- 
thing ; and the power of grasping is not great. The lower limbs 
are in good proportion to the body, and the feet, like the hands, are 
short and broad, with a high instep. Considering their frequeut 
occupations as hunters they do not excel in speed, nor in jumping 
over a height or a level space, but they display great agility in 
leaping to kick with both feet together an object hanging as high 
as the chin, or even above the head. In walking, their tread is firm 
and elastic, the step short and quick ; and the toes being turned 
outwards and the knee at each advance inclining in the same 
direction, give a certain peculiarity to their gait difiicult to 

The hair is sooty black, without gloss, and coarse, cut in an even 
line across the forehead, but allowed to grow long at the back of 
the head and about the ears, whilst the crown is cropped close or 
shaven. The colour of the skin is a light yellowish brown, but 
variable in shade, and in a few instances was observed to be very 
dark. In the young, the complexion is comparatively fair, pre- 
senting a remarkably healthy sunburnt appearance, through which 
the rosy hue of the cheeks is visible ; before middle life, however, 
this, from exposure, gives place to a weather-beaten appearance, so 
that it is difficult to guess their ages. 

The face is flat, broad, rounded, and commonly plump, the cheek- 
bones high, the forehead low, but broad across the eyebrows, and 
narrowing upwards ; the whole head becomes somewhat pointed 
towards the crown. The nose is short and flat, giving an appear- 


ance of considerable space between the eyes. The eyes arc brown, 
of different shades, usually dark, seldom if ever altogether black, 
and generally have a soft expression ; some have a peculiar glitter, 
which we call gipsy-like. They slope slightly upwards from the 
nose, and have a fold of skin stretching across the inner angle to 
the upper eyelid, most perceptible in childhood, which gives to 
some individuals a cast of countenance almost perfectly Chinese. 
The eyelids seem tumid, opening to only a moderate extent, and 
the slightly arched eyebrows scarcely project beyond them. The 
ears are by no means large, but frequently stand out sideways. 
The mouth is prominent and large, and the lips, especially the 
lower one, rather thick and protruding. The jaw-bones are strong, 
supporting remarkably firm and commonly regular teeth. In 
the youthful these are in general white, but towards middle ago 
they have lost their enamel and become black, or are worn down 
to the gums. The incisors of the lower jaw do not pass behind 
those of the upper, but meet edge to edge, so that by the time an 
individual arrives at maturity, the opposing surfaces of the eye and 
front teeth are perfectly flat, independently of the wear they are 
subjected to in every possible way to assist the hands. The expres- 
sion of the countenance is one of habitual good -humour in the great 
majority of both sexes, but is a good deal marred in the men by 
wearing heavy lip ornaments. 

The lower lip in early youth is perforated at each side opposite 
the eye-tooth ; and a slender piece of ivory, smaller than a crow- 
quill, having one end broad and flat like the head of a nail or tack 
to rest against the gum, is inserted from within, to prevent the 
wound healing up. This is followed by others successively larger 
during a period of six months or longer, until the openings are 
sufficiently dilated to admit the lip ornaments or labrets. As the 
dilatation takes place in the direction of the fibres of the muscle 
surrounding the mouth, the incisions ai)pears so ver^' uniform as to 
lead one to suppose each tribe had a skilful operator for the pur- 
pose ; this, however, is not the case, neither is there any ceremony 
attending the operation. 

The labrets worn by the men are made of many difTcront kinds 
of stone and even of coal, but the largest, most expensive, and most 
coveted, are each made of a flat circular piece of white stone, an 
inch and a half in diameter, the front surface of which is flat, and 
has cemented to it half of a large blue bead. The back surface is 
also flat, except at the centre, where a projection is left to fit the 
hole in the lip, with a broad expanded end to prevent it falling out, 
and so shaped as to lie in contact with the gum. It is surprising 


how a man can face a breeze, however light, at 30° or 40° below 
zero, with pieces of stone in contact with his face, yet it seems from 
habit the unoccupied openings would be a greater inconvenience 
than the labrets which fill them. 

Their sight is remarkably acute, and seemed particularly so to us, 
who often experienced a difficulty in estimating the true distance 
and size of objects on the snow. Their hearing also is good, but we 
doubt if it possesses the same degree of acuteness. Of the other 
senses we have not been able to form an opinion. 

While young the women are generally well-formed and good-loot- 
ing, having good eyes and teeth. To a few, who besides possessed 
something of the Circassian cast of features, was attributed a certain 
degree of brunette beauty. Their hands and feet are small, and 
the former delicate in the young, but soon become rough and 
coarse when the household cares devolve upon them. Their move- 
ments are awkward and ungainly, and though capable of making 
long journeys on foot, it is almost painful to see many of them walk. 
Unlike the men, they shuffle along commonly a little sideways, 
with the toes turned inwards, stooping slightly forward as if carry- 
ing a burden ; and their general appearance is not enhanced by the 
coat being made large enough to accommodate a child on the back, 
whilst the tight-fitting nether garment only serves to display the 
deformity of their bow legs. Beyond the front view of the face, 
they seem utterly regardless of cleanliness ; and though careful in 
arranging the beads in their hair, they seldom use a comb either for 
comfort or tidiness. A sort of cleansing of the body generally is 
occasionally practised, but it is far from deserving the name of 
ablution. It is but fair to state that we believe they might be 
easily taught habits of cleanliness, but these could be attended to 
with the greatest difficulty, as they have no more water in the long 
winter than is just sufficient for their drinking and cooking. 
Around Michselowski, in Norton Sound, some of the women wear 
cotton garments next the skin ; and on bath days, after the people 
of the Fort had done, they eagerly availed themselves of the 
opportunity, when allowed, to wash both themselves and their 

The hair is worn parted in the middle from the back to the front, 
and plaited on each side behind the ear into a roll, which hangs 
down to the bosom and is wrapped round with small beads of 
various colours. Length of hair generally accompanies softness of 
its texture, and is considered a point of female beauty. The ears are, 
with very few exceptions, pierced to support, with ivory or copper 
hooks, foiir or five long strings of small beads suspended at a dis- 


tance from the ends, wliicli hang free, leaving the middle part to 
fall loosely across the breast. Not nnfrequently the ends are long 
enough to be each fastened back in another loop to the hair behind 
the ears. 

Fortunately for the appearance of the countenance it is not 
deformed by the perforations in the lip, but instead it is marked 
with three tattooed lines from the margin of the lower lip to the 
under surface of the chin. The middle one of these is rather more 
than half an inch broad, with a narrower one at a little distance on 
either side, diverging slightly downwards. The manner in which 
tattooing is performed is by pinching up the skin in the direction 
of the line required, and passing through it at short intervals a 
fine needle, in the eye of which is a small thread of sinew blackened 
with soot, as in ordinar}^ sewing, except that the thread is pulled 
through at each stitch. The narrow line on each side is the result 
of one seam or series of stitches, but the middle one requires three 
or four such close together. It has been supposed that this opera- 
tion is performed at a particular period when the girl verges into 
womanhood, and some of the natives profess that this is the case, 
but inquiry does not substantiate the supposition. A single line is 
frequently seen in mere children, and the three in very young 
girls, whilst a few are not marked until they seem almost full 
grown women, and have been called wives for a considerable time. 
The same irregularity exists with regard to the age at which the lip 
is perforated for labrets in boys, who as soon as they can take a seal 
or kill a wolf are entitled to have the operation performed. But, 
in truth, no rule obtains in either case ; some, led by the force of 
example, submit to it early, and others delay it from shyness or 
timidity. A man is met with occasionally without holes for labrets, 
but a woman without the chin-marks w-e have never seen. 

The men's dress is simple and convenient, consisting of a frock 
reacliing nearly half-way to the knee, with a hood, and confined at 
the waist by a loose belt, having the tail of some animal attached 
to it behind, and breeches tying below the knee over long boots or 
mocassins, which also tie at the ankle. These garments are double, 
the inner being generally made of fawn-skin, and worn with the 
fur inw^ards, and the outer of the skin of the half or full-grown 
animal with the hair outwards. To make the hood set well to the 
face, a triangular slip of skin is necessary to bo inserted on each 
side of the neck, with long points extending down the breast ; and 
these pieces being usually white, form witli the darker skin of tho 
coat a contrast which readily catches tho eye. Around the face is 
a fringe, frequently of wolf or wolverine-skin, on good coats, and the 


skirt is hemmed with a narrow edging of a similar kind ; some have 
also a border of white, with straps of the same colour on the arm 
near the shoulder. There is commonly an ermine-skin, a feather, 
or some such thing, which acts as a charm, attached to the back. 
The skins of various other animals besides the deer, as the fox, 
musk-rat, marten, dressed bird-skins, &c., are also used in making 
coats. The breeches are also of deer-skin, or sometimes dog or seal- 
skin, occasionally ornamented with a stripe of white down the out- 
side or front of the thigh. The boots are most frequently of the 
dark skin of the reindeer's legs, or this in alternate stripes with the 
white skin of the belly, extending from below the knee to the ankle, 
with soles of white dressed seal-skin, gathered in neatly around the 
toes and heels, having within a cushion of whalebone scrapings or 
dried grass, between them and the reindeer stockings, which are 
next the feet. They are particular in the arrangement of the skins ; 
thus the round spot of indurated skin on which the hair is stiffer 
and whiter than that around it just below the hock of the animal is 
always placed over the inside of the ankle-bone in men's mocassins 
at Point Barrow, and over the outer in women's ; but they say the 
reverse is the custom at Point Hope. Over these a pair of ankle- 
boots of black seal-skin, dressed only so far as to remove the hair, 
with soles of narwhal-skin, is worn on the ice. The hands are 
protected by deer-skin mittens, with the hair inwards ; but for cold 
weather and working on the ice, the thicker skin of the polar bear, 
with the hair outwards, is preferred, as it is warmer and less liable 
to injury from getting wet. The whole dress is roomy, particularly 
the coat, which has the sleeves large enough to allow the hands to 
be withdrawn, one of the greatest comforts that can be imagined in 
cold weather. In winter a cloak of dark and white deer-skins is 
worn over the shoulders, held on by a thong across the throat, and 
gives the whole figure a very gay appearance. According as the 
wind is in from or on one side, the cloak can be turned as a pro- 
tection against it. The usual belt is made of the smaller wing- 
feathers of ducks, after the plumes are torn off, partly sewed and 
partly woven with small plaited cords of sinew, taking care to keep 
the glossy back surface of the feathers outwards, and their ends, 
which form the edges of the belt, are confined by a narrow binding 
of skin. In some of these there is a checkered appearance, produced 
by alternate rows of black and white feathers ; but the white tapsi, 
or belt, is certainly the gayest. The pipe-bag on one side, and the 
knife on the other, suspended to the girdle supporting the breeches, 
may be considered part of the usual dress. For procuring fire, the 
flint and steel is used in the North, and kept in a little bag hanging 


round the neck; and in Kotzebue Sound the pipe-bag contains two 
pieces of dry wood, with a small bow for rotating the one rapidly 
while firmly pressed against the other until fire is produced. In 
the absence of these, two lumps of iron pyrites are used to strike fire 
upon tinder, made by rubbing the down taken from the seeds of 
plants with charcoal. The tobacco-bag, or " del-la-mai'-yu," is the 
constant companion of men, women, and even children, and is kept 
also at the inner belt. 

In summer, as their occupations are more in boats, the dress is 
somewhat different. The feet and legs are incased in watertight 
sealskin boots, and an outside coat of the same material,or of whale- 
gut, covers the body ; or these are made all in one, with a drawing- 
string round the face. The least valuable skins are also xised at 
this time, as they soon become soiled and filtli}- with blubber, 
becoming quite unfit for a second season. 

It would be impossible to enumerate the varieties of dress we 
witnessed at the grand summer dance, when, among new skin coats, 
might be seen the clean white-cotton shirt and the greasy and 
tattered Guernsey frock, besides others made up of odds and ends, 
such as cotton or silk handkerchiefs procured at the ship, showing 
that they were bound by no rule as to dress on the occasion. On 
the head of every dancer, however, was a band supporting one, two, 
or three large eagle's feathei s, which, together with a streak of black- 
lead, either in a diagonal line across or down one side of the face, 
gave them a more savage appearance than they usually exhibit. 
Many of these head-bands were made of the skin of the head and 
neck of some animal or bird, of which the nose or beak was retained 
to project from the middle of the forehead. The long beak of the 
great northern diver formed the most conspicuous of these ornaments. 
Another head-dress, which is looked upon with superstitious regard, 
and only worn when engaged in whaling, consists of a band of deer- 
skin ornamented with needlework, fi om which are suspended around 
the forehead and temples, in the form of a fringe, the front teeth of 
the im'-na, a sort of deer, which has been before mentioned as 
inhabiting the interior. 

Snow-shoes are so seldom used in the North when the drifted 
snow presents a hard frozen surface to walk upon, that certainly 
not half a dozen pairs were in existence at Point IJarrow at the time 
of our arrival, and those were of an inferior sort. Inland, and near 
Kotzebue Sound, where trees and underwood grow, the snow remains 
so soft it would be impossible to travel any distance in the winttsr 
without them. The most common one is two jiieces of alder, about 
two feet find a half long, curved towards each other at the <'n»ls, 


where the}' are bound together, and kept apart in the middle by 
two cross-pieces, each end of which is held in a mortice. Between 
the cross-pieces is stretched a stout thong, lengthwise and across, 
for the foot to rest upon, with another which first forms a loop to 
allow the toes to pass beneath ; this is carried round the back of the 
ankle to the opposite side of the foot, so as to sling the snow-shoe 
under the joint of the great toe. As the shoe is thus suspended at 
a point a little before its centre, the heel end trails lightly over 
the snow at each step, whilst the toe is raised over any slight 
unevenness in the way. Some are five feet long by fourteen inches 
wide, rounded and turned up at the toe, and pointed at the heel, 
neatly filled in before and behind the cross-bars with a network of 
sinew, or of a very small thong made from the skin of the small seal, 

The women's dress differs from the men's in the mocassins and 
breeches forming a single close-fitting garment tied round the waist, 
as well as in being more uniformly striped, and the coat in being 
longer, reaching to below the knees in a rounded flap before and 
behind. The back of the coat and the hood are also made large 
enough to contain a child, whose weight is chiefly sustained by the 
belt. For common use, and among the poorer people, the inner one is 
made of bird-skins, and among those who are better off, of deer-skin, 
and is plain. In winter, when out of doors, an outer coat of thick 
deer-skin is worn, and in summer a light one of the skins procured 
during the summer when the animal is changing its hair. For 
dress occasions, one is worn by those who can afford it which is 
made of patchwork, always according to one invariable plan as to 
the shape and principal seams ; but there is considerable variety 
allowed in the arrangement of the white and different shades of 
fawn-skins of which it is made, besides a countless multitude of 
strips and tufts of fir sewed to the back, shoulders, and front of the 
garment, producing always a pleasing effect, and indicating con- 
siderable industry on the part of the seamstress. 

The woman's tapsi or belt is made from the skin of the wolverine's 
feet, with the claws directed downwards and placed at regular inter- 
vals. Near Kotzebue Sound a belt of a different kind is much in 
use, consisting of a piece of skin, of proper length, having the front 
teeth of the reindeer, adhering to the dried gum of the animal, 
stitched to it ; so that the second row of teeth overlies the sewing 
on the first, and so on, beginning at each end and joining at the 
middle. A belt of this description is about two and a half inches 
broad, and has from fifty to sixty rows of teeth. The other personal 
ornaments, besides the beads in the hair and ears, are rings of iron 


and copper for the wrists, and on dancing occasions their wealth is 
displayed in broad bands of small beads of ditfercnt colours, arranged 
according to the taste of the wearer, attached by one end to the 
coat at the neck, and by the other to the middle of the front skirt. 
Large beads seem to be \ised only by the men, some of whom were 
vain enough to display them in strings round the liead or hanging 
in front of the coat, and we remarked that no part of the materials 
procured from the ship was used as clothing by the women. 
Buttons were the only ornaments they seemed to adopt for the belt, 
and to fasten the beads in their hair. 

Instead of a knife the women wear at the inner belt a needle-case, 
which is merely a narrow strip of skin in which the needles are 
stuck, with a tube of bone, ivory, or iron to slide down over them, 
and kept from slipping off the lower end by a knot or large bead. 
Their pipe is commonly smaller and lighter than V.m men's, and 
they do not carry it in a bag, but in the hand or inside the 
coat at the back ; and the flint and steel is not so general 
with them, as their work is seldom out of doors except in com- 
pany with the men. They have a singular habit of wearing 
only one mitten, protecting the other hand under the flap of the 
coat, or drawing it inside the sleeve, in preference to carrying a 

Tlie shape of the coat serves to distinguish the sex of child I'en as 
soon as they are able to walk alone, but the woman's form of 
mocassins is used by boys until they are well grown. 

The physical constitution of both sexes is strong, and they bear 
exposure during the coldest weather for many hours together with- 
out appearing inconvenienced, further than occasional frost-bites on 
the cheeks. They also show great endurance of fatigue during 
their journeys in the summer, particularly that part in which they 
require to drag the family boat, laden with their summer tent and 
all their moveables, on a sledge over the ice. 

Extreme longevity is probably not unknown among Ihcm ; but as 
they take no heed to number the years as they pass, they can form 
no guess of their own ages, invariably stating " they have many 
years." Judging altogether from appearance, a man whom we saw 
in the neighbourhood of Kotzebue Sound could not be less than 
eighty years of age. He had long been conflned to his bed, and 
ap{)eared quite in his dotage. There was another at Point Barrow, 
whose wrinkled face, silvery hair, toothless gums, and shrunk limbs 
indicated an age nothing short of seventy-five. This man died in 
the month of April 1853, and had paid a visit to the ship only a few 
days before, when his intellect seemed unimpaired, ajid his vision 

s 2 


wonderfully acute for his time of life. There is another still alive, 
who is said to be a few years older. 

Before offering aijy remarks on the character of these people, it 
should be premised that the subject is approached with great 
diffidence, lest we should give erroneous views respecting them ; for 
although we have resided two years within three miles of their 
largest settlement, we could never wholly divest ourselves of the 
feeling that we were looked upon by them as foreigners, if not 
intruders, who were more feared than trusted; the more favourable 
points of their character were not therefore brought prominently 
before us ; whilst from being frequently annoyed by petty thefts, 
false reports, broken promises, and evasions, we perhaps too hastily 
concluded that thieving and lying were their natural characteristics, 
without attributing to them a single redeeming quality. Yet, as 
we became l;:^tter acquainted, we found individuals of weight and 
influence among them, whose conduct seemed guided by a rude 
inward sense of honesty and truth, and whom it would be unfair to 
judge by a civilized standard, or to blame for yielding to temptations 
to them greater than we can conceive. Aleaf of tobacco is a matter 
of small value, yet the end of it sticking from one's pocket amid a 
knot of natives at Nu-wuk, would be a greater temptation there, 
and would more surely be stolen than a handkerchief or a purse 
seen dangling from one's skirt in a London mob. And when the 
parental and filial duties are so carefully performed, it \vould be 
hard to deny the existence of even a spark of generosity. 

In disposition they are good-humoured and cheerful, seemingly 
burdened by no care. Their feelings are lively but not lasting, and 
the temper frequently quick, but placable. Of their placable temper, 
an instance occurred in September 1852. An old man, of some con- 
sideration at Nu-wuk, had with his wife been alongside the ship, 
and in the crowd were refused admittance ; the woman also, by 
some accident, had received a blow on the head from an oar. By 
way of retaliation, a day or two afterwards he tried to send away 
our watering-party from a pond near the village; and finding our 
men took little heed of him, he set about persuading his countrymen 
to expel the strangers " for stealing the water." Captain Maguire 
seeing the disturbed state of his feelings depicted in his countenance, 
advanced to meet him, and at once presented him with a needle. 
The man's embarrassment was extreme. Trifling as the present 
was, it flattered him out of more than half of his anger, and he dis- 
sipated the rest in a long talk, the people seating themselves in a 
ring, and requesting the captain and his companions to take a place 
in the centre, when the old man and his wife — his better half — 


explained the bad treatment they had received at the ship. In tlie 
meantime the boat was hulen, and the distribution of a little tobacco 
left a momentary impression that we were angels. 

Their conjiigal and parental afiections are strong, the latter 
especially, whilst the children are still young; but beyond the 
sphere of their own family or hut they appear to have no regard. 
The loss of a husband, a wife, or a child, makes no permanent deep 
impression, unless the bereavement leaves them destitute of the 
comforts they have been accustomed to ; indeed, it is not rare to 
find a woman unable to give an accurate account of her children, in- 
cluding the dead ; yet when their afflictions are brought to mind by 
inquiry, the cheerful smile leaves the face to be rejilaced by a look 
of sadness, and the tone of the voice becomes doleful. Under the 
real or pretended influence of grief, acts of violence are sometimes 
committed by the men, and thefts at the ship were occasionally said 
to be prom])ted by domestic sorrows. Though thankful at times for 
favours, they seldom ofiered any return, and gratitude beyond the 
hour is not to be looked for. Perhaps it is not too much to say that 
a free and disinterested gift is totally unknown among them. On 
making a present to a stranger, it was not uncommon to see him 
put on a look of incredulity, and repeatedly ask if it were really a 


They vied with each other for a long time in pilfering from the 
ship, whilst among themselves honesty seemed to prevail ; but as 
we came to know them better, and were able to detect delinquents, 
our losses became fewer, and we learned that thefts fiom each 
other were not unfrequent, so that we arrived at the very unsatis- 
factory conclusion that it is the certainty of detection that prevents 
theft. Many articles, such as spears and other implements, are left 
exposed, and run no risk, as they would certainly bo recognized by 
many others besides the owner ; but when food, oil, tobacco, or such 
other things as would bo difficult to identify, are concerned, the 
case is different. In the long passage leading to the winter hut, 
many articles are kept which could be easily taken unknown to the 
inmates; but during the day some neighbour would be sure to see 
the thief, or, if the deed were done in the night, his focjtmarks on 
the snow would tell the tale. It is in the stormy, dark nights the 
Nu-wuk burglar goes his rounds, trusting to the snow-drift to ob- 
literate his footsteps. His visits are not unprovided against, for a 
trap is laid in most huts, not to catch the marauder, but to alarm 
and drive him away. This is affected by placing a board with a 
large wooden vessel on it in such a position, tliat both may fall on 
the slightest touch, thereby making sufficient noise to arouse the 


household, some of whom get up, re-adjust the trap, and retire 
again. We were also informed of instances as they occurred of 
stealing from each other seals left on the ice, and in one case a net 
was taken up and carried off to Cape Smyth. 

It is almost natural to expect that falsehood should follow to 
conceal theft, and we found it here accordingly. To invent stories 
disparaging to others was a practice some addicted themselves to 
without any conceivable motive, and the women backbite each other 
and talk scandal very freely. Their confidence in our honesty 
soon became unbounded, and goods brought to the ship and not 
disposed of were frequently left behind ;■ yet though they knew 
our engagetaents would be fulfilled, when a bargain was made they 
appeared uneasy until the payment was effected. Selfish gratification 
at the present moment is all they seem to live for, and no promise 
of a I'eward, however great, would induce them to deviate from their 
usual life for any continued period. 

If they do not possess courage of a daring character, the)'- have 
given us no reason to look upon them as cowards. When the crew 
of Mr. Shedden's vessel, the Nancy Dawson, landed on the ice to 
shoot birds, the handful of men whose tents were in the neighbour- 
hood advanced, bow in hand, to meet them and drive them back. 
Some of these men have since explained, that fearing the guns, 
they thought it better to oppose the landing of the strangers than 
trust them on shore, before knowing them to be friends ; adding, 
that " Mr. Martin was a good man, who said they were friends, and 
made the ship's people put away their guns." After committing a 
robbery at our storehouse, they attempted to direct attention to 
the Cape Smyth people as the thieves, although the track left by 
dragging some sails had been followed to near Nu-wuk. When this 
was pointed out, and a threat made to send an armed force to 
recover the stolen property, they turned out to the number of 
eighty men, with bows and spears, and advanced within musket 
shot of the ship, rather than stand a siege in their own dwellings. 
We have learned enough from them to believe they at first looked 
upon us as a contemptible few whom they could easily overcome, 
and certainly would have attempted it but for fear of the firearms ; 
but since then, they have gone to the opposite extreme, and invested 
us with greater powers than we really possess. On trifling occa- 
sions some of them have shown a degree of obstinacy which renders 
it probable, that if once engaged in a fight they would not readily 
give in, at least if there was anything like equality of weapons ; and, 
under any circumstances, they might be expected to defend their 
homes to the last extremity. 


Being in the habit of making frequent jounieys of four or five 
days without taking more than two days' provisions, they appear 
to rely on the kindness of others as they pass ; and as this is perhaps 
never denied, hospitality to strangers may be esteemed a duty. We 
aie of opinion, however, this has its limits, A man of good name 
would have no difficulty in procuring food and shelter while 
travelling through any part of his country, as, where he ceased to 
be known by his own reputation, he would be accepted as a guest 
on mentioning the name of his last entertainer ; and we have never 
entered a strange hut without inquiry being made as to what sort 
of food we used, and generally some of their best was set before 
us, or an apology made that they had nothing to oH'er which we 
would relish. But an Eskimo never undertakes a distant journey 
unless he well knows the people he is going among, or he goes in 
company with others on whom he can depend for a welcome. In 
a society so large as that at Point Barrow, it is impossible that 
different families should be at all times totally independent of each 
other, and the successful hunter of to-day lends to his neighbour, 
who, when the luck turns, repays the favour ; but dealings of this 
kind are practised no more than necessity requires. A man 
returned during the hunting-time to the village, and his own hut 
being closed, he lived with a relative for four or five days ; in 
return for which, when the season was over, that relative and some 
of his family spent a whole day in the other's hut, where they were 
entertained with reindeer-flesh, which was then very scarce. 

For the tender solicitude with which their own infancy and 
childhood have been tended, in the treatment of their aged and 
infirm parents they make a return which redounds to their credit, 
for they not only give them food and clothing, sharing with 
them every comfort they possess, but on their longest and most 
fatiguing journeys make provision for their easy conveyance. In 
this way we witnessed among the people of fourteen summer tents 
and as many boats, one crippled old man, a blind and helpless old 
woman, two grown-up women with sprained ankles, and one other 
old invalid, besides children of various ages, carried b}' their re- 
spective families, who had done the same for the two first during 
many successive summers. Here, again, the tic of kindred dictates 
the duty, and we fear it would go hard with the childless. "When 
a man dies, his next of kin sup})orts his widow ; or if unprovided 
already, he may make her his wife, unless ho allows her to bo tjikeu 
by a stranger. Oiphan children are provided fur in the same way, 
and adoption is so frequent among them that it becomes almost im- 
possible to trace relationship ; this is, however, of no importance, 


as the adopted takes the place of a real child, and performs his 
duties towards his benefactors as if for his own parents. Grief is 
sometimes made the excuse for violence, but it is also assuaged in a 
nobler manner by adopting the children of the deceased ; or a 
stranger's orphan, to whom the name of the lost one is given. In 
this manner 0-mig-a-loon, the principal man at Point Barrow, the 
same who followed and annoyed Captain Pullen at Point Berens, 
adopted an Indian infant which fell into his hands by accident 
while grieving for his father, then recently dead, whose name the 
youth now bears. We have never heard of the sick or aged being 
left to perish, though at Icy Cape we saw a woman lying dead, 
in a hut, who had been subject to bad treatment, as evidenced by 
the bruises on her face. Within her reach were placed food and 
water, which we are willing to look upon as proofs that it was not 
intended she should die of starvation. One instance of infanticide 
came within our knowledge during the last winter ; but a child, 
they say, is only destroyed when afflicted with disease of a fatal 
tendency, or, in scarce seasons, when one or both parents die. In 
the case alluded to both these conditions were present. They state 
that children are rarely put to death at Nu-wuk, though frequently 
in the inland regions ; as if by pointing out its greater frequency 
there they palliated the crime among themselves. 

Having but little food of a nature adapted to supply the place of 
milk, it is no unusual thing to see a boy of four or five years old 
take the breast ; and the indulgence with which children are 
treated is attributable in some degree to the difficulty in rearing 
them. We have seen a child of four years old demand a chew of 
tobacco from his father, and, not receiving it immediately, strike 
him a severe blow on the face with a piece of wood, without giving 
offence. It is not improbable that such indulgence should have a 
permanent effect on the temper and character of the people. The 
children fight with and bully each other in their play, but among 
the grown-up men or womeu we have never seen anything approach- 
ing a quarrel ; and, as a general rule, they are particularly careful 
not to say anything displeasing in each other's presence. If a man 
gets angry or out of temper, the others, even his nearest friends, 
keep out of his way, trusting to his recovery in a short time. 
Whenever we have met them at a distance from the ship in small 
parties, they have proved tractable and willing to assist when re- 
quired ; but when the numbers were large they were mischievous 
bullies, threatened to use their knives on the slightest provocation, 
and, instead of giving assistance, would rather throw impediments 
in our way. We hardly think them likely to commit wanton cruelty, 


or to shed human blood without a strong motive, yet we would be 
unwilling to trust to the humanity of a people whose ciipidity is 
easily excited, and who are accustomed to no restraint siivo their 
own free will. When murder is committed, as it sometimes is. it is 
in retaliation for injury, real or fancied ; and then the victim is 
stolen upon while asleep and overpowered by numbers, or he receives 
his death-wound unawares from some one behind him. 

In point of intelligence, some exhibit considerable capacity, and 
in general they are observant and shrewd. As a people, they are 
very communicative, those of most consideration being generally 
most silent ; and wisdom is commonly imputed to those wlio talk 
least. They possess great curiosity, and are chiefly attracted by 
M'hatever might be useful to themselves. In this wa}' a gun would 
be a study they seemed never to tire of, particularly the lock ; and 
the blacksmith when working at the forge was, perhaps, as great 
an attraction as there was on board the ship. They soon began to 
appreciate prints and drawings, and latterly often borrowed books 
of plates to amuse them at home, always taking great care of them 
and returning them in good order. When shown the construction 
of a pair of bellows, a few appeai'ed to perceive and admire the 
mechanism at once, whilst to many it remained quite a mysteiy to 
the end. They were totally unable to comprehend how the sounds 
were produced from a flute, and it was highly amusing to see one 
of the most intelligent amongst them, who fancied there was some 
trick practised, examine the fingers and lips of the musician to find 
out the deceit. Every article that fell under their notice became 
the subject of inquiry as to what were its uses, the material it was 
made from, how it was manufactured, and if it pleased them much, 
the name of the maker. At first they exhibited some caution in 
receiving information, and went slyly from one to another asking 
the same questions ; but latterly they ceased to do so, A perfect 
stranger, especially if young, and allowed to roam at large about 
the ship, woidd in a short time be able to name almost every one 
on board, but in a way hardly recognisable. One boy at the end of 
six months could count on his fingers as far as ten, mastering the 
letter / in four and five tolerably, but still with great eflfort ; and 
learned a few other words. A number of other's tried at first to 
follow his example, without success ; and it was remarked that 
'' pease-soup " was the only English word generally known and 
distinctly pronounced. The majority have a strong sense of the 
ludicrous, and readily observe personal peculiarities, which they 
will afterwards describe with great zest. Some of them are tolerable 
mimics, and their cftorts arc sure to meet with applause, especially 


when the subject is u stranger ; but among themselves tliey are 
very discreet in the exercise of this faculty. A few of the men 
showed some quickness in interpreting the drift of our inquiries 
respecting their superstitions and usages ; but for the insight we 
gained of these we were usually indebted to the women — especially 
the younger ones, who, besides being more communicative, displayed 
more readiness in this respect — for the first information, which, 
being afterwards confirmed by the older men, served as a clue to 
guide farther inquiry. 
\y A man seems to have unlimited authority in his own hut, but as, 
with few exceptions, his rule is mild, the domestic and social posi- 
tion of the women is one of comfort and enjoyment. As there is no 
aifected dignity or importance in the men, they do not make mere 
slaves and drudges of the women; on the contrary, they endure 
their full share of fatigue and hardship in the coldest season of the 
year, only calling in the as^istance of the women if too wearied 
themselves to bring in the fruits of their own industry and patience ; 
and at other seasons the women appear to think it a privation not 
to share the labours of the men. A woman's ordinary occupations 
are sewing, the preparation of skins for making and mending, 
cooking, and the general care of the supplies of provisions. Occa- 
sionally in the winter she is sent out on the ice for a- seal which her 
husband has taken, to which she is guided by his foot-marks ; and 
in spring and summer she takes her place in the boat, if required. 
Seniority gives precedence when there are several women in one 
hut, and the sway of the elder in the direction of everything con- 
nected with her duties seems never disputed. In the superinten- 
dence of household affairs the active mother of the master of a hut 
or of his wife must be a great acquisition to his family, from her expe- 
rience and from the care and interest she displays in their manage- 
ment ; and, as her natural desire is to see her children happy around 
her, she exerts herself to promote their well-being and harmony. 

It is said by themselves that the women are very continent before 
marriage, as well as faithful afterwards to their husbands ; and this 
seems to a certain extent true. In their conduct towards strangers, 
the elderly women frequently exhibit a shameless want of modesty, 
and the men an equally shameless indiiference, except for the re- 
ward of their partner's frailty. In the neighbourhood of Port 
Clarence this is less the case than farther north, whilst on the Island 
of St. Lawrence it is, perhaps, more so than on any part of the coast. 
The state of wedlock is entered at a variable time, but seldom in 
extreme youth, unless as a convenience to the elders, who desire 
an addition to the household. The usual case, is, that as soon as the 

MARE I AGE. 253 

young man desires a partner, and is able to support one, his mother 
selects a girl according to her judgment or fancy, and invites her 
to the hut, where she first takes the part of a " kir-gak " or servant, 
having all the cooking and other kitchen duties to perform during 
the day, and returns to her home at night. If her conduct prove 
satisfactory, she is further invited to become a member of the family, 
and this being agreed to, the old people present her with a new 
suit of clothes. The intimacy between the young couple appears to 
.spring up very gradually, and a great many changes take place before 
a permanent choice is made. Obedience seems to be the great 
virtue required, and is enforced by blows when necessary, until the 
man's authority is established. In the ordinary course of events 
life runs smoothly enough, and is only checked by a few lover's 
quarrels or fits of sulkiness ; but it occasionally happens that the 
husband finds his regard unrequited, and he either trusts to time to 
overcome her indifference, keeping a strict watch over her conduct, 
or he treats her with severity. The consequence of this is her re- 
tuni to her friends, whither he may follow and drag her back to his 
hut. Eepeated occurrences of this kind may take place and end in 
permanent harmony ; but if his treatment has been cruel, which it 
seldom is to their view, and her relatives not interested in enforcing 
the union, she is taken back and protected from his farther violence. 
We have been assured it sometimes happens that several men 
entertain a passion for the same woman, the result of which is a 
fight with bows and arrows, in the death of some of the 
aspirants, and she falls to the lot of the victor. A man of mature 
years chooses a wife for himself, and fetches her home, frequently, to 
all appearance, much against her will ; but she manages in a wonder- 
fully short time to get reconciled to her lot. A union once appa- 
rently settled between parties grown-up is rarely dissolved ; though 
we have seen a woman and her child residing with her relatives, 
having been deserted by her husband, for what reason could not be 
ascertained. The woman's property, consisting of her beads and 
other ornaments, her needle-case, knife, &c., are considered her own ; 
and if a separation takes place, the clothes and presents are returned, 
and she merely takes away with her whatever she has brought. 
Unless she has proved an untameable shrew she need not be appre- 
hensive of remaining long single, as the proportion of males to 
females in the popuhition is more than eight to seven, besides 
which several of the leading men have each two wives. 

Bigamy is evidently looked upon as a sign of wealth, and is in 
many instances analogous to the adoption of children. Thus, if a 
man is a trader and well oil', he may require the assistance of 


another woman to work up his peltry into coats for the next market ; 
or his wife may be nursing, and cannot well perform all the duties 
that usually devolve upon the mistress of a large establishment. 
Under such circumstances he may take home as an additional help- 
mate some elderly widow, and both parties will be benefited by the 
arrangement. This is, however, not always the motive, and no little 
jealousy is sometimes excited by the introduction of a younger and 
better-looking woman to the establishment. The practice is, after all, 
not very common, as only four men out of a population of near 290 
at Point Barrow had each two wives. There were four also at Cape 
Smyth, where the population is smaller, and several at Point Hope. 
At the latter place one was particularly mentioned as having no 
less than five wives ; and although it is the only instance of polygamy 
we heard of, it serves to show that custom has put no limit to the 
number of wives a native of this country may have. 

The age at which the women are married is probably in general 
fifteen to sixteen. They do not commonly bear children before 
twenty ; and there is usually an interval of four years or more 
between the births. They relate, apparently with little hope of 
being believed, that some years ago a woman at Cape Smyth had 
two children at one birth. For one woman to have borne seven 
children is a rare case, and for five to live to maturity still more 
rare. If any one in the ship were stated to be the ninth or tenth 
child of one family it excited their astonishment, and if to this it 
were added that seven or eight of them were still alive, they 
became incredulous. A couple is seldom met with more than three 
of a family, though inquiry may elicit the information that one or 
several " sleep on the earth." From this, and the great care and in- 
dulgence with which those of tender years are treated, it may be 
inferred that the greatest mortality takes place under the fifth year, 
but it does not appear that there is any particular form of disease 
to which they are, before this age, peculiarly liable ; the condition 
of the mother, however, according as the season is one of abundance 
or scarcity, has by their own account a material influence on the 
health of the offspring. During first pregnancy great solicitude has 
been observed on the part of the husband for his wife, although 
there is no reason to believe childbirth anything but easy. In the 
particular instance alluded to, from the delicate appearance of the 
woman it was fancied that every precaution was taken to guard 
against premature labour, three cases of which came under notice in 
the last winter. 

Previous to proceeding farther with the usages and occupations of 
these people, it will be well to give some idea of their habitations. 



A. Upright pillars sup- 

IKirting roof. 

B. Entranc- hole in floor. 

C. Central space for cook- 


D. Underground passage. 
^ E. Sleeping-places. 

.■^tono lamps 
Iv<jgs for I II Hows. 
Walls of i)latik. 
Earth embankment. 
Hole in roof. 
l.«vel of tlie surround- 
ing ground. 



The winter huts at Point Barrow are not placed with any regard 
to order or regularity, but foi'm a scattered and confused group of 
grassy mounds, each of which generally covers two separate dwel- 
lings, with separate entrances ; some, however, are single, and a 
few are threefold. Behind each are placed a number of tall posts 
of driftwood, with others fastened across them, to form a stage on 
which are kept small boats or kaiaks, skins, food, &c., above the 
height to which the snow may be expected to bank up in the 
winter, and beyond the reach of dogs. These posts show out very 
plainly against the horizon in the winter, when everything beneath 
is covered with snow, and in all seasons may be seen at a con- 
siderable distance, long before the huts themselves become visible. 
The entrance to each hut is from the south by a square opening at 
one end of the roof of a passage twenty-five feet long, and has a 
slab of ice or other substance of convenient shape to close it at 
pleasure. The passage, which is at first six feet high, descends 
gradually until about five feet below the surface of the ground, 
becoming low and narrow before it terminates beneath the floor of 
the hut. Near its middle on one side branches off a recess, ten to 
twelve feet long, with a conical roof open at the top, forming an 
apartment which serves as a cook-house, and on the other is com- 
monly enough a similar place, used as a store or clothes' room. 
The " iglu " or dwelling-place is entered by a round aperture in the 
floor on the side next the passage, and is a single chamber of a 
square form, varying in size from twelve to fourteen feet from 
north to south, by eight to ten from east to west. The roof has a 
double slope of unequal extent, that on the south side being the 
larger, with a square opening or window, covered with a transparent 
membrane stretched into a dome-shape by two pieces of whalebone 
arched from corner to comer, and is generally a little more than 
five feet high under the ridge. The smaller part of the roof has 
between it and the floor a bench, on which a part of the family sleep 
at night, and sit or lounge during the day. The walls are of stout 
planks, placed perpendicularly, close at the seams and carefully 
smoothed on the inside ; the floor and sleeping-bench are the 
same, whilst overhead are small rounded beams, also smoothed 
and scraped, sustaining the weight of the earth heaped on top. 
As the bench and the sleeping-place beneath do not in many in- 
stances exceed four feet from the wall to the cross-beam at the 
edge, which serves as a pillow, the occupants cannot be supposed 
to lie at full length, but this limited extent of the bed-place gives 
greater space in the other part of the hut, which is thus left nearly 
square, and is generally occupied by the women sewing or perform- 


ing other household duties. The entrance and bed-pLice are at 
opposite ends ; and on either hand is an oil-burner or fireplace, 
having a slender rack of wood suspended over it, on which articles 
of clothing are placed to dry, also a block of snow to melt and drip 
into a large wooden vessel. Beneath the last again are other vessels 
for diflfereut purposes, some of them frequently containing skins to 
undergo preparation for being dressed. These vessels are each 
made of a thin board of the breadth required, bent into the form of a 
hoop, and the ends sewed together neatly with strips of whalebone, 
the bottom being retained in its place by a score like the end of an 
ordinary cask. The oil-burner is the most curious, if not the most 
important piece of furniture in the establishment. It is purchased 
ready made from the eastern Eskimo, %vho procure it from a more 
distant people. It is a flat stone of peculiar shape, three to 
four and a half feet long, and four inches thick, pointed at tlie ends 
by the union of the two unequally convex sides somewhat like the 
gibbous moon. The upper surface is hollowed to the deptli of three- 
quarters of an inch to contain the oil, leaving merely a thin lip all 
round, and several narrow ridges dividing the hollow part both 
lengthwise and transversely. It is placed on two horizontal pieces 
of wood fixed in the side of the hut, about a foot from the floor, with 
the most c(jnvex side towards the wall, the other being that where 
a broad flame of any extent required is sustained from whale or 
seal-oil by means of dry moss for wicks. When the length of one 
side of a lamp of this description is considered, it will readily be 
conceived that not only a good light but also a great deal of heat 
may be produced, so that the temperature of a hut is seldom below 
70^ of Fahr., though we have hardly ever seen a flame of more than 
a foot in extent ; and as great care is taken to keep it trimmed, no 
offensive degree of smoke arises, though the olfactories are saluted 
on first entering by a combination of scents anything but agreeable. 
Ventilation is not altogether neglected, as there is near the middle 
of the roof a hole in which a funnel of stiff" hide is inserted to carry 
off the vitiated air from the interior of the hut. When the place is 
much crowded or the temperature too high, a corner of the mem- 
brane can be raised; but we have seen it more speedily effected by 
the master of a house at Nu-wuk, in his impatience to contribute to 
our comfort, by making an incision with his knife through the 
middle of it — a proceeding which did not seem to bo entirely 
approved of by his wife, to whose lot it would doubtless fill to 
repair it. 

Such are the usual habitations on the coast of the Arctic Sea ; but 
there are also others of a greater extent and different form, one of 


which near the entrance of Hotham Inlet, Kotzebue Sound, is worth 
mentioning, more particularly as it bears some resemblance to one 
described by Sir John Eichardson, on the east side of the Mackenzie 
Eiver. The outside did not differ . in appearance from the others, 
except in size, as indeed they were all pretty well covered with 
snow, but the interior was in shape something like three sides of a 
cross, twenty feet by sixteen, with a roof sloping down on all sides, 
like that of a verandah, from a square framework in the centre, 
supported by four straight pillars, one at each corner, seven feet 
high and eight feet apart. The quadrangular space in the centre was 
covered with loose boards, which were removed when the fire was 
required for cooking. It was bounded by logs stretching between 
the bases of the pillars, and rounded on the upper surface to rest 
the head upon during sleep, and had above it the usual square 
aperture answering alternately the purpose of a chimney and a 
window. Three sides of the house formed as many recesses, five 
and a half feet from the log stretching between the pillars to the 
walls, and were occupied at the time of our visit by six families, 
each family having their own lamp in the intervals between the 
recesses. The fourth side was only two feet deep, and left 
space for little more than the entrance-hole in the floor and a 
few household utensils. The walls were onl}^ three feet high, 
and inclined slightly inwards the better to support the sloping roof, 
which, like them and the flooring of the recesses, was made of 
boards nearly two feet broad, quite smooth and neatly joined. 
The whole building was remarkable for the regularity of the form 
of the interior, and for the mechanical skill displayed in the work- 
manship. Huts of this description may be looked upon as a com- 
bination of several, each recess representing a separate establish- 
ment, united in this form for mutual convenience, and are used 
where driftwood, is abundant, the large cooking-fire in the middle 
of the building imparting its warmth to all around. But the 
rushing down of cold air, and the smoke not always ascending, 
proved sources of greater discomfort to us whenever we visited 
them than the close atmosphere of those in which oil only is 

A modification of the last form, built of undressed timber, and 
sometimes of very small dimensions, with two recesses opposite 
each other, and raised about a foot above the middle space, is very 
common on the shores of Kotzebue Sound ; but on the rivers, where 
trees grow, structures of a less permanent kind are erected. Then 
the smaller trees are felled, cut to the length required, and split ; 
then laid inclining inwards in a pyramidal form, towards a rude 


square frame in the centre, supported by two or more upright 
posts. Upon these the smaller branches of the felled trees are 
placed, and the whole, except the aperture at the top and a small 
opening on one side, is covered with earth or only snow. The 
entrance is formed of a low porcb, having a black bear-skin 
hanging in front, leading to a hole close to the ground, through 
which an unpractised person can hardly creep, farther protected 
from the breeze by a flap of deer-skin on the inside. In the hilly 
districts, near the source of the Spafareif Eivcr, this sort of snow- 
covered hut was in use, and the inland tribes on the Nu-na-tak, are 
described as living in dwellings of a similar kind, constructed of 
small wood, probably built afresh every year, and not always in the 
same localit}'. A stranger approaching a village of this description, 
if the numerous footmarks happened to be obliterated by a recent 
drift or fall of snow, might readily pass by unconscious of its 
existence, unless he happened to catch a glimpse of the black bear- 
skin doors, which are all turned in the one direction. 

Snow or ice huts are seldom used except for short intervals, and 
they are then made very small, consisting of two chambers, the 
outer one of which serves as a cook-house, and is entered from 
above by an opening closed at pleasure by a slab of snow. The 
communication between this and the inner one is by a passage 
close to the floor, no larger than necessary for one person to creep 
through. The roof of the inner apartment is about five feet high, 
with a window facing the south, having beneath it a small lamp 
and rack for drying clothes ; and on one side the snow is raised 
two feet from the ground, and covered with boards, on which the 
skins are laid to form the bed. 

In fixed settlements, like those of Point Barrow or Cape Smyth, 
there are other buildings which seem public, though nominally the 
property of some of the more wealthy men. In the former of these 
places there are two still in existence, and in the latter three. The 
largest is at Nu-wuk, and is eighteen feet by fourteen, built oi" 
planks stuck upright in the ground, and the crevices filled up with 
moss. The roof is similar to that of the other huts, only higher, 
and there is no sleeping bench within, but a low seat all round 
the f(jur walls. It has the usual subterranciin passage for entrance, 
but the window in the roof is often used as a door. Unlike the 
other huts, they are placed on the highest ground, and are readily 
distinguished by not being built around, or covered with earth. 
They are altogether constructed with little care, and evidently' for 
only occasional use. A house of this description is called a Kar- 
ri-gi, and used l^y tlie men to assemble in for the purpose of 



dancing, in whicli the women join, for working, conversing and 
idling, whilst the boys are nnconsciously learning the customs and 
imbibing the sentiments of their elders. 

In summer they live in conical shaped tents of deer or seal-skins, 
according as they are inland or coast people. Four or five poles, 
from twelve to thirteen feet long, slung together by a stout thong 
passing through holes in their tops, are spread out to the proper 
size, and within them, at a mark on each, about six feet from the 
ground, a large hoop is fastened. Smaller poles are then placed 
between the others in a circle on the ground, and leaning against 
the hoop to complete the frame of the tent. The skins are in two 
parts, each having a long corner sewed into a sort of pocket to fit 
the top of the long poles, over which one is placed above the other 
from opposite sides, so as to surround the whole framework, and 
allow the edges of one set of skins to overlap those of the other, 
and be secured by a few thongs. A large flap is sometimes cut in 
one side to form a window, fitted with a transparent membrane, 
over which the flap of skin may be replaced as a blind during 
sleeping-time. A tent of this kind is called a " tu'-pak," and makes 
a very comfortable summer abode, one side of which can be kept 
open to any extent, according to the weather : it is easily trans- 
ported, and maj' be set up or taken down in an incredibly short 

Commencing with the first new moon after the freezing-over of 
Elson Bay, which took place on the 24th of September, 1852, and 
on the IGth of September, 1853, the Point Barrow people divide the 
3'ear into four seasons, which they call O'-ki-ak, including October, 
November, and December ; O'-ki-ok, January, February, and March; 
O-pen-rak'-sak, April, May, and part of June ; and 0-pen-rak', the 
remaining part of June, together with July, August, and Septem- 
ber. The successive moons, to the number of twelve, are 
also named by them, evidently in reference to their own occu- 
pations, to the phenomena observable in the season itself, or in 
animals, such as their migrations, &c., though we have been able to 
make out the precise meaning of only a few of them. These vary a 
little in different localities; but the setting-in of the winter being 
taken as the beginning of the year in all parts of the country, and 
the summer moons being but little noticed, no confusion seems to 
result. Taking them as they occurred in the last season, 1853-4 
each tad'-kak or moon was given us as follows. 

I. 1853, Oct. 2, Shud'-le-wing, sewing. 
II. „ Nov. 1, Shud'-le-wing ai-pa, sewing. 
III. „ Nov. 30, Kai-wig'-win, rejoicing. 


IV. „ Dec. 30, Aii-lak'-to-win, departing (to Inmt the 

V. 1854, Jan. 28. Ir'-ra slm'-ga-run sba-ke-nat'-si-a, great 

cold (and) new sun. 
VI. „ Feb. 27, E-sek-si-la' wing. 

VII. „ Mar. 28, Kat-tet-a'-wak, returning for whale (from 
hunting ground). 
VIII. „ April 27, Ka-wait-piv'-i-en, birds arrive. 
IX. „ May 26, Ka-wai-a-niv'-i-en, birds hatched. 
X. „ June 25, Ka-wai'-lan pa-yan-ra'-wi-en, (young) birds 
XI. ,, July 25, A-mi-rak'-si-vvin. 
XII. „ Aug. 23, It-ko-wak'-to-win. 

As the new moon of September falls on the 21st of the month, it 
will require an early setting-in of the winter to make that the first 
moon of the next year. 

For denoting time they also have expressions equivalent to yes- 
terday, to-day, to-morrow, morning, afternoon, evening, &c., but 
these are not by any means precise ; and in speaking of events a 
year or more past, they use two terms, ai-pa'-ne, which seems 
properly to mean two years ago (ai'-pa, two), but may be as readily 
applied to twenty ; and al-ra'-ne, in the olden time, which is exceed- 
ingly indefinite. They have frequently declared that they keep 
no account of the years as they roll, and " never number them, as 
they do not write like us," so that it is next to impossible to get any- 
thing like exact dates from them. In describing the direction of 
any distant place they are equally vague, using the term a-wa'-ne, 
westward, or along the coast towards Icy Cape or Point Hope ; 
ka-wa'-ne, eastward, or towards the Colville or Mackenzie rivers ; 
pa-ne, south, or landward ; and u-na'-ne, north or seaward. 

The seasons, as mentioned above, seem to guide them almost 
instinctively in their different occupations ; and it will not perhaps 
be amiss to enumerate the principal ones which employ their time 
throughout the year. 

In the month of September they have almost all assembled at 
the winter huts, amongst which they pitch their seal-skin tents, 
living in them in preference to the yet damp underground ig-lu's, 
and are constantly on the look-out for whales, killing also a few 
walrus, bears, and seals, until the winter has fairly sot in, and tho 
sea become shut up with ice, which generally takes place about 
tho middle of October. During this time most of the women 
remain in comparative idleness at homo, "as it is not good for them 
to sew while the men are out in the boats ;" but so soon are these are 

T 2 


laid-iip for tbe winter, the sewing, together with cleaniDg the skins, 
commences, and is most industriously carried on for two months 
following. The men are now also engaged in setting nets nnder 
the ice for seals, in catching small fish with hook and line through 
holes in the ice, or in preparing implements used at other seasons. As 
midwinter approaches, the new dresses are completed, and about ten 
days at this season are spent in enjoyments, chiefly dancing in the 
kar-ri-gi, every one appearing in his or her best attire. This time 
of the year being one in which hunting or fishing cannot well be 
attended to, and no indoor work remaining to be performed, is 
perhaps sufficient reason why it should be chosen for festivities in 
the high latitude of Point Barrow, when the sun is not visible for 
about seventy days ; but it may not equally explain the prevalence 
of the same custom about the same period in Kotzebue Sound, 
lat. 66°, when the reindeer might be successfully pursued through- 
out the winter, the people then collecting from many miles around, 
to hold a festival in the neighbourhood of Cape Kruzenstern. The 
amusements being concluded, a few set out early in January ; but it 
is later'when the larger parties take their departure for the land in 
search of deer, scattering themselves over the flat ground at a 
variable distance of three to eight or ten days' journey from the 
villao-e, and hollowing out dwellings in the deep snow-drift under 
the banks of the rivers, through the ice of which they make holes 
for catching fish by nets and for obtaining a supply of water. This 
occupies the majority of the people until April, the few who remain 
at home receiving supplies from time to time, besides spearing a 
few seals by watching for them as they come to breathe through 
the cracks in the ice ; or, if it is not in a favourable state for this 
near the shore, they make snow-houses to live in among the 
grounded masses in the offing. Having brought home the spoils of 
the chase, in the end of April they commence preparing their boats 
for launching and the implements used in capturing the whale, 
which gives employment for the men. The women are now also 
busily engaged in making watertight seal-skin boots and other 
articles of dress appropriate for summer wear. Towards the end of 
May, birds, chiefly eider and king-ducks, engage much attention 
from the whole population as they pass over the village northward, 
in rapidly succeeding flights of one to two hundred birds, alter- 
nately male and female. The whales having disappeared and the 
birds passed, a short interval is allowed to prepare dresses for 
another festival, which takes place in the end of June, and occupies 
six or eight days, when the dancing is performed in the open air. 
Early in July more than one-third of the community take their 


departure in a body to the eastward, to make tlie long journey to 
Colville Eiver, and to Barter Point, many of the others following in 
small parties to scatter themselves over the land in search of deer, 
and over the lakes and rivers for birds and fish. About one-fourth 
of the population remains at the village, oatcbing abundance of 
small seals, but chiefly looking out for those of a larger size, and 
walrus, until the whales re-appear in the end of August, soon after 
which, most of the travellers return from their wanderings to com- 
mence another year. At midsummer, when the sun has been some 
time above the horizon, the snow becomes soft and the rivers begin 
to flow, so that travelling or the pursuit of game is too fitiguing to 
be successfully carried on ; this season, therefore, like midwintei', 
becomes necessarily one of comparative idleness, or is only spent iiy 

Such is a brief sketch of the ordinary annual routine of the occu- 
pations of the Eskimo of Point Barrow ; but it is to be remarked 
that unusual success or the reverse in hunting or fishing, more 
especially as regards the whale, must always modify it in a great 
degree. Thus, in 1852, no less than seventeen whales were said to 
have been taken, sufficient to afford the poorest and. most im- 
provident abundance of food and fuel for the winter ; and in the 
succeeding spring, out of their superabundance of deer, a very con- . 
siderable number was brought to the ship for barter ; whilst, in 1853, 
only seven whales, and those mostly small ones, were killed, giving 
rise to such want of the necessaries of life in the last winter that 
many families were obliged to use the decayed flesh and bhibber of 
a dead whale which had been stranded on Cooper's Island, about 
twenty-five miles distant, more than two years before, and had 
remained up to this time neglected. But even this resource failed 
them, and many, as has been before mentioned, perished of famine. 
In the former year, at midwinter, feasting and dancing were constant 
for nearly a fortnight, and during October, November and December, 
the number of seals ofl'ered for sale at the Plover was very great ; 
but in the latter they had none of amusements, at least in 
public, as they had not oil enough to spare for warming and lighting 
up the dance-huts, and up to July only a few scraps of seal were 
brought to the ship. The want of oil also prevented some of the 
most wealthy men from going to hunt the deer in the winter ; and 
consecpiently none but a few pounds of venison were biought to 
the ship for barter, the supply being hardly adequate to their own 

From some of the more intelligent men, it a])pears that they 
consider the last season one of uncommon privation, and that of 


1852-3 was one of unusual abundance. Tracing back the years on 
the fingers, with some patience, it could be made out that in 1851-2 
whales abounded, in 1850-1 the narwhal supplied the place of 
whale, giving them plenty of food and skins for covering their 
boats. 1848-9 was one of scarcity, as was also 1843-4. This, so 
far as it may be depended on, makes three successive fifth years to 
be seasons of unusual hardship. In 1837, Mr. T. Simpson remarked 
the niimber of fresh graves on Point Barrow, but no satisfactory 
account of the season preceding that could be obtained, and it was 
too remote to be recalled with anything approaching certainty by 
even those who remembered that gentleman's visit. 

Having cleared out most of the furniture from the ig'-lu, and 
filled up the window with pieces of timber and other lumber placed 
on their ends, so as also to obstruct the entrance-hole in the floor, 
the um'-i-ak or large boat is put upon a sledge, u'-ni-ek, when it is 
secured by a few cords or thongs, and in it are stowed tlie summer 
tent with all its furniture, the baggage of the whole family, the 
children and old people, together with the kayaks or canoes, and 
all their fittings belonging to the men and boys of the party, 
making a very considerable weight to drag. On a low sledge, 
ka-mo-tik, of a stouter structure, are generally carried their seal- 
skins, filled with oil for barter. The party consists on the average 
of six persons, four of whom are generally all who can drag, and 
are distributed, three to the large sledge, and one to the ka-mo-tik. 
If they possess dogs, these are distributed also to assist where most 
required, and there appears to be as much care taken as possible to 
adapt the load to the strength of each individual. The ice at this 
season is much decayed and uneven from the formation of pools on 
its surface, and the labour of dragging a heavy load on a sledge is 
very great ; but, fortunately for them, it seldom lasts more than 
four or five days, during which they appear to travel at the rate of 
ten miles a day. Fourteen parties, with as many boats (the aggre- 
gate number of souls being seventy-four), passed the ship in this 
way on the 3d of July last, which is four days earlier than in the 
preceding summer. On the fourth day they arrive at Dease Inlet, 
which, from the rivers flowing into it, is then a sheet of water, and 
the mode of transport is reversed, the sledge being now carried in 
the u-mi-ak, and the small boats towed. In favourable seasons the 
journey may be continued by paddling or tracking the boat along 
the shore, between which and the ice there is generally a narrow 
lane of water, imtil they anivo at Smith's Bay. Here the laborious 
part of their journey is suie to end ; the sledges are left behind, 
and to make room in the large boat for the oil-skins, the men get 


into their kayaks. They enter a river which conducts them to a 
lake, or rather series of h\kes, and descend another stream which 
joins the sea in Harrison Bay, within a day's journey and a half 
of the Colville. Whilst passing these streams and lakes they are 
enabled to supply themselves abundantly with fish of large size by 
nets ; a few birds are also taken, and occasionally a deer. About 
the eleventh day they encamp on a small island, within half a day's 
journey of the bartering place, and the different parties probably 
wait for each other there to enter the river in company. 

The Colville River is described as having four mouths, the 
western of which is very shallow, but the second is a good deep 
channel, and is therefore followed until they get into the un- 
divided stream, on the left or west bank of which they see the tents 
of their friends, the Nu-na-tang'-meun. Six, eight, or ten days, 
for precise numbers could not be obtained, are spent in bartering, 
dancing, and revelry on a flat piece of ground on which the tents 
of the two parties are ranged opposite each other between two 
slight eminences, about a bow-shot apart. The scene is looked 
forward to by every one with pleasant anticipations, and is spoken 
of as one of such great excitement that they hardly sleep during 
the time it lasts. 

About the 26th of July this friendly meeting is dissolved, the 
Nu-na-tang'-meun ascending the Colville homewards, and the others 
descending its eastern mouth to pursue their journey to O-lik'-to, 
Point Berens. In consequence of their occupying a great deal of 
time in hunting to provide supplies for the remainder of the journey, 
they spend four or five days in this short distance, which does not 
exceed twenty miles. Proceeding from Point Berens they travel 
four sleeps, as marked in red ink on the chart, to a place called 
Ting-o-wai'-ak (Boulder Islatid of Franklin), where the tents are 
pitched and the women and children left. Three boats are then 
selected, and additional benches placed in each for the accommo- 
dation of its crew, now increased to fifteen, including ono or two 
women. The fifth sleep is within a short distance of Barter Point, 
from which they start prepared for a hostile or a friendly meeting, 
as the case may be, but it is uniformly the latter, at least of late 
years. The conduct of the Point Barrow people in their inter- 
course with those of the Mackenzie, or rather Demarcation I'uint, 
seems to be very waiy, as if they constantly kept in mind that they 
were the weaker party, and in the country of strangers. They 
describe themselves as taking up a position opposite the place of 
barter on a small island to which they can retreat on any alaiiu, 
and cautiously advance from it making signs of friendship. They 


say that great distrust was formerly manifested on both sides by 
the way in which goods were snatched and concealed when a 
bargain was made ; but in later years more women go, and they 
have dancing and amusements, though they never remain long 
enough to sleep there. They state that on leaving Barter Point 
the wind is always easterly, and making sail on their boats, they 
can go to sleep. On the first day they pick up the women and 
children with their tents, and return to Point Berens on the second. 
They now cross Harrison Bay in a direct line before the breeze to 
Cape Halkett, about the 10th of August, some taking the route through 
the rivers by which they had gone eastward, and others proceeding 
along the sea coast. Should the previous whaling season have been 
successful, they spend the time until September in fishing and 
catching deer ; but should the opposite have been the case, they 
make no delay beyond what is necessary for procuring supplies to 
bring them back to Ku-wiik, in order to make up in the autumn 
for the deficiency of the summer. 

The traific, which is the main object of this yearly journey, has 
been already alluded to, but some more details of it may not prove 
uninteresting. At the Colville, the Nu-na-tang'-meun offered the 
goods procured at Se-su'-a-ling on Kotzebue Sound from the 
Asiatics, Kokh-lit' en'-yu-in, in the previous summer, consisting of 
iron and copper kettles, women's knives (o-lu'), double-edged 
knives (pan'-na), tobacco, beads, and tin for making pipes; and 
from their own countrymen on the Ko'-wak Eiver, stones fur 
making labrets, and whetstones, or these ready made, arrow-heads, 
and phmibago. Besides these are enumerated deer and fawn-skins, 
and coats made of them, the skin, teeth, and horns of the im'-na 
(argali ?), black fox, marten, and ermine-skins, and feathers for 
arrows and head-dresses. In exchange for these, the Point Barrow 
people (Nu-wung'-meun) give the goods procured to the eastwai'd 
the year before, and their own sea-produce, namely, whale or seal- 
oil, whalebone, walrus-tusks, stout thong made from walrus-hide, 
seal-skins, &c., and proceed with their new stock to Point Barter. 
Here they ofi'er it to the Kan'g-ma-li en'-yu-in, who may be 
called for distinction Western Mackenzie Eskimo, and receive in 
return, wolverine, wolf, imna, and narwhal skins (Kil-lel'-lu-a), 
thong of deer-skin, oil-burners, English knives, small white beads, 
and latterly guns and ammunition. In the course of the winter 
occasional trade takes place in these with the people of Point Hope, 
but most of the knives, beads, oil-burners, and wolverine-skins, are 
taken to the Colville the following year, and, in the next after, 
make their appearance at Kotzebue Sound and on the coast of Asia. 


From what we know positively of the trade thus far, we aie 
inclined to believe there is a tolerably regular yearly communica- 
tion between each Eskimo tribe and their neighbours of the same 
race on either side. It seems highly probable the pan'-na, or 
double-edged knife, described by Sir W. E. Parry as in use among 
the tribe he met at Winter Island, may have been of Siberian 
origin, from being of the same form and identical in name with 
that brought by the Asiatics to Hotham Inlet, where they receive 
in return oil-burners, or stone lamps, which we have often seen 
in their tents in 1848-9, of a shape corresponding exactly with the 
drawing in that gentleman's journal of his second voyage ; they 
bear also a similar name, kod'-lan, and are said to be brought from 
a very distant eastern country. Supposing a knife of this kind 
made in Siberia, to be carried at the usual rate, we compute it 
would not arrive at Winter Island before the sixth year, and, 
having been exchanged the year before for a stone lamp, this might 
come into the hands of the Asiatics on the ninth. The knife would 
remain the first winter in the possession of the Eeindeer Tuski 
(or Tsau'-chu), the second with the inland Eskimo, Nu-na-tang'- 
meun, the third at Demarcation Point with the Kang'-ma-li-meun, 
the fourth with the East Mackenzie or the Cape Bathurst tribes, 
and on the fiifth possibly fall into the hands of the people who make 
the lamps. The lamp, returning the same way, would remain the 
sixth winter at Cape Bathurst, the seventh at Demarcation Point, 
the eighth at Point Barrow, the ninth in the interior, and be 
received by the Asiatics on the following summer. 

For a very large portion of our information, we have been in- 
debted to a man called Erk-sin'-ra, who has sustained a most ex- 
cellent character throughout the whole time the Plover remained 
at Point Barrow. He drew the coast-line eastward as far as he 
knew it, giving the names of many places, some of which ho 
described so minutely as to be undeniably identified with those 
mentioned in Sir J. Franklin's journal, and laid down in his chart. 
Erk-sin'-ra's coast-line has been drawn in red, parallel to that copied 
from the Admiralty chart, and a dotted line marks each place where 
the two were made out clearly to correspond. What seemed to us 
most singular was, that whilst his description of the coast agreed 
so minutely in many particulars with the narrative and chart of 
Messrs. Dease and Simpson, he denied the existence of the Pelly 
Mountains, and maintained most positively that there are no hills 
on the wett side of the Colville visible from the sea ; and at length 
said, " We never saw them, but perhaps you might with your long 
spy-glasses." lie was the head man of the first party Couimauder 


Tullen met at Point Berens on the 11 th of August, 1849, and gave 
O'-lik-to as the name of the place where the post was erected. By 
a letter dated H.M.S, Investigator, 8th of Atigust, 1850, received 
from a native of Point Barrow, to whom it had been given at Point 
Drew, that ship must have passed Point Berens on the 9th or 10th 
of August, when she also was seen by Erk-sin'-ra. As he was on 
both these occasions on his return from that bartering-place, the 
first week in August may be confidently assumed as the usual time 
of the two tribes meeting at Barter Point. 

Among the few remarkable features of this dreary coast is a large 
stone, about four sleeps from Point Barrow, near Point Tangent, 
giving the name of Black Eock Point to the projecting land off" 
which it lies. It is mentioned by Mr. J. Simpson as the only stone 
of large size he met with on this part of his journey. The natives 
assert it is a " fire stone," and fell from the sky within the memory 
of people now living. No one saw it fall ; but one woman, about 
sixty years of age, said she travelled that way yearly as a girl, 
when there was no stone there, and that in retuining one summer, 
lier people were much surprised to see it, and believed it had fallen 
from the sky. Should it prove a meteoric stone, the story of its 
age might be true enough ; but at present it is doubtful. It is 
said to enlarge and present a full rounded appearance at times, 
when deer are plentiful in the neighbourhood, as it feeds upon them, 
killing and devouring a great many at a time. No doubt those 
animals are instinctively guided in their migrations by particular 
states of the atmosphere ; ahd as the tides are much influenced by 
the winds, it is not impossible that they should most abound in that 
locality when the tide is low, giving an apparent increase to the 
size of the stone. 

We were anxious to get the history of the " Old Huts," marked 
by Sir J. Franklin in longitude 14(3° 20' w., but could ascertain 
distinctly no more than that they were the remains of an ancient 
Kaug'-ma-li settlement. In connection with this, our informants 
gave an account of the modern origin of the trade at Barter Point, 
agreeing with that given by Sir J. Franklin, to the effect that it 
was established within the memory of people recently dead, whilst 
their intercourse with the inland people by the Colville is of ancient 
date. But from their having traditions of the Eastern people 
relating to a remote period, we think it probable that it was only 
renewed in recent times, having been previously kept up by a tribe 
inhabiting the " Old Huts," whose parties visited the Colville on 
the west, and met the Mackenzie people on the cast of their own 
country. From the wcll-kuown hostility of the Ked Indians to the 


Eskimos, it may be conjectured that the settlement was destroyed 
by them and the inhabitants put to death ; and that after some 
time had elapsed, the people of Point Barrow would be induced to 
extend their journeys eastward ftirther in search of those whose 
goods they had been accustomed to receive, and at length meeting 
with other people, none of whom they had ever before seen, the 
establishment of a regular trade, as at present existing at Bai'ter 
Point, would be the result. 

Point Hope is generally visited by parties in the winter, who 
perform the journey in fifteen to twenty days, returning to Nu-wiik 
at the end of two moons. From that Cape, therefore, to a littlo 
beyond Barter Point, a distance of about 600 miles, is the extent 
of coast with which the Point Barrow people are actually acquainted, 
and their personal knowledge of the interior may be said to extend 
to fifty miles. But besides this they also know, by report, the 
names of more distant countries and their inhabitants ; thus the 
people they trade with at Barter Point are called Ka'ng-ma-li en'- 
gu-in, whose winter huts are probably at Demarcation Point ; among 
them they have occasionally seen a few Ko-pan'g-meun, Great 
River (Mackenzie) people, whom they distinguish by having a 
tattooed band across the face. Beyond the Mackenzie is a country 
called Kit-te-ga'-ru, and farther still, but very distant, one inhabited 
by the people who make the stone lamps before spoken of. So far 
they speak with confidence ; and then relate the story of a singular 
race of men living somewhere in that direction, who have two faces, 
one in front and the other at the back of the head. In each face is 
one large eye in the centre of the forehead, and a large mouth 
armed with formidable teeth. Their dogs, wliicli are their constant 
companions, are similarly provided with a single eye in each. 
This fable seems to refer to the tribe of Indians who are said by 
their neighbours to see the arrows of their enemies behind them. 

Of the Indians they know but little personally, having only seen 
a few on rare occasions; but they appear to know them well' by 
report, both from the Ka'ng-ma-li-meun and Nu-na-tan'g-meun. 
Under the general term It'-ka-lyi, they describe them as a dan- 
gerous people, well armed with guns, who reside in the moun- 
tainous districts far away to the south and east of the Colville. 
The inland Eskimo also call them Ko'-yu-kan, and divide them 
into three sections or tribes, two of which they know, and say they 
have different modes of dancing. One is called It'-ka-lyi, and 
inhabits the It'-ka-ling Kiver, cast of the Colville ; the second, 
It-kal-ya'-ru-in, whose country is farther soutli ; and the third, 
whom they have never seen, but only heard of as the people who 


barter wolverine-skins, knives, gnus, and ammunition to the 
Eskimo at Herschel Island, for Enssian kettles, beads, &c., 
too-ether with whalebone and other sea-produce. These three 
tribes, they further say, are all dressed alike, and are fierce and 
warlike, but not cannibals like other Indians they have heard of. 
They are, without doubt, the mountain Indians to whom Sir J. 
Franklin makes frequent allusion in his narrative of his journey 
westward from the Mackenzie Kiver, a tribe who have had but 
little intercourse with the Hudson's Bay Company ; and Mr. J. 
Simpson, travelling the same coast in 1837, also mentions them as 
but little known. As the name Ko'-yu-kan, by which they are 
known at Point Barrow, is the same as that given to the tribe in 
whose treacherous attack on the Eussian post at Davabin Lieu- 
tenant Barnard lost his life in 1851, and as some of their coasts and 
other portions of dress offered for sale at the Plover, in 1852, were 
of the same make and material as the suit in the possession of Mr. 
Edward Adams of the Enterprise, the companion of Lieutenant 
Barnard, there can be little doubt they are one and the same 
people. If, as seems probable, they are also the same who destroyed 
the Hudson's Bay post in 1839, in latitude 58", they occupy a great 
extent of country between the Oolville and Mackenzie Elvers, and 
rano-e from near Sitka to the Arctic Sea. It is at all times desirable 
that great caution should be used in drawing inferences from mere 
sounds in an unwritten language which is but partially known, yet 
it seems worthy of remark, that the Eskimo word Kok, a river, 
if prefixed to the name Yu-kon, will bear a strong resemblance to 
the name Ko'-yu-kan, given b}^ them to the Indians inhabiting the 
country through which the You-kon flows. They also know by 
report the people of Cape Prince of Wales, Kin'g-a-meun, and the 
Kokh-lit' en'-yu-in, Asiatics, who come to Kotzebue Sound yearly. 
Some traditions they have besides which refer to a land named 
I<'-'-lu, far away to the north or north-east of Point Barrow. The 
story is, that several men, who were carried away in the olden 
time by the ice breaking under the influence of a southerly wind, 
after many sleeps arrived at a hilly country inhabited by a people 
like themselves who spoke the same language. They were well 
received and had whales'-flesh given them to eat. Some of thes-e 
wanderers fuund their way back to Point Barrow, and told the tale 
of their adventures. After some time, during a spring when there 
was no movement in the sea-ice, three men set out to visit this 
unknown country, taking provisions on their backs; and having 
performed their jouiney without mishap, brought home confirma- 
tion of the previous accounts. Kothiug further could be learned 


conceraing this northern expedition except that each man wore out 
three pair of mocassin soles in the journej' ; and since then there 
has been no commimication with the Ig'-lun Xu'-na, but they 
believe some others who have been carried away on the ice may 
have reached it in safety. 

We conld never find any who remembered liaving seen Euro- 
peans before Mr. J. Simpson's visit in 1837, but had heard of 
them as Ka-blu'-nan from their eastern friends ; more recently they 
heard a good deal of them from the inland tribes as Tan-ning or 
Tan'-gin. This probably refers to the Eussians, who have regular 
bath days at their posts, and is derived from tan-ni'kh-lu-go, 
to wash or cleanse the person. They also apply other names to us, 
apparently of their own invention ; one is E-ma'kh-lin, sea men 
(this is the name of the largest of the Diomede Islands) ; another 
is Sha-ke-na-ta'-na-meun, people from beneath the sun (en'-gu-in 
a-ta'-ne Sha-ke'-nik) ; but the most common one is Xel-lu-an'g- 
meun, unknown people (nel-lu-a'-ga, I do not know). 

To themselves they apply the w^ord En-yn-in, people, the plural 
of e-nyn'k, a person of any nation, prefixing, when necessary, the 
name of their nu-na or country, as, Nu-wu'ng-meun, that is, 
Ku-wu'k En'-Tu-in, Xoo-wook or Point Barrow people; Jng-ga-lan'- 
da-meun, Englishmen. Lately those met with in Grantley Harbour 
and Port Clarence have adopted the epithet Es-ki-mo'. 

In addition to the notice of the phases of the moon, they possess 
sufficient knowledge of the stars to point out their position in the 
heavens at particular seasons, and we believe use them as guides 
sometimes in travelling. They look upon them as fiery bodies, 
as proved in their estimation by the shooting stars, which they 
look upon as portions thrown off by the fixed ones. They form 
them into groups, and give them names, many of which they 
explain. The star Aldebaian, with the cluster of the Hyades, 
and other smaller ones around, are called Pa-chukh-lu-rin, " the 
sharing-out " of food, the chief star representing a polar bear just 
killed, and the others the hunters around, preparing to cut up their 
prize, and give each hunter his portion. The three stars in Orion's 
Belt are three men who were carried away on the ice to the south- 
ward in the dark winter. They were for a long time coveied with 
snow, but at length perceiving an opening above them, they 
ascended farther and farther until they became fixed among the 
stars. Another group is called the " house building," and represents 
a few people engaged in constructing an ig-lu, or winter hut. 
But perhaps their most complete myth refers to the sun and moon, 
who, they say, are sister and brother. Given as wo received it, 


it runs as follows: — "A long time ago, in a country far away to 
the eastward, called Pin'g-o, the people held a winter festival, when 
one of the women, tired of dancing, left the company and retired to 
rest in her own hut. Before she had gone to sleep, she perceived 
some one enter, who blew out the light, and lay down beside her. 
Being desirous to know who her stealthy visitor was, she smeared 
her hands with soot from the lamp within her reach, and secretly 
blackened his body, that she might know him again among the 
dancers. After he had gone, she returned to the dance-house, and 
peeping in, saw to her horror that the man whose person she had 
marked was her own brother. She retired in great grief to the 
open air; but soon returning to the dance-house, she went into the 
middle of the assembly, and with a woman's knife (o-lii) cut ofi" her 
left breast, which she gave her brother, saying, 'All this it is good 
that you should eat.'^ They then went out, and both ascended 
slowly towards the heavens in a circular path, he with his dog going 
first and she following, and when nearly out of sight separated, the 
man, by name Nel-lu-kat'-si-a Tad-kak, to become the moon, and his 
sister, Sigh-ra-a-na, to become the sun, still dripping with her own 
gore, as may be seen occasionally in cloudy weather, when she looks 
red and angry." The moon is considered cold and covered with 
snow, on the white surface of which may be traced at the full the 
figure of the man perpetually travelling with his dog, whilst the lady 
sun enjoj's the warmth of an eternal summer." 

In some of their pursuits necessity compels the men of different 
establishments to combine their strength, as in taking the whale, 
and in such circumstances, some must take the lead. It would 
seem an easy step from this to the permanent ascendency of indi- 
viduals over the others, and some have accordingly considerable 
weight in the community ; but there is nothing among them 
resembling acknowledged authority or chieftainship. A man who 
has a boat out in the whaling season, engages a crew for the time ; 
but while in the boat he does not appear to have any control over 
them, and asks their opinion as to where they should direct their 
course, which, however, they generally leave him to determine, as 
well as to keep the principal look-out for whales. The chief men 
are called Ome'liks (wealthy), and have acquired their position by 
being more thrifty and intelligent, better traders, and usually better 
hunters, as well as physically stronger and more daring. At the 
winter and summer festivals, when the people draw together for 

* This is not given as a literal translation, but we believe it convej's the 
meaning. The Eskimo words are " ta-man'g-ma mam-mang-mang-an'g-ma 


enjoyraents, proficiency in music, with general knowledge of the 
customs and superstitions of their tribe, give to the most intelligent 
a further ascendancy over the multitude ; and this sort of ascen- 
dancy once established, is retained without much eifort. As they 
combine to form a boat's crew to pursue a common prey, so will 
they unite to repel a common enemy, but it is only when danger 
is common they will so unite ; their habits of life leaving them per- 
fectly free from the control of others, and making them dependent 
solely on their own individual exertions for a livelihood ; they are 
bound together as a society only by ties of relationship and a few 
superstitious observances, and have no laws or rules excepting 
what custom has established in reference to the spoils of the chase. 
It cannot be doubted that their Ome'liks have considerable in- 
tiuence, more especially over their numerous relations and family 
connections, and may use some art to maintain and extend it; yet 
O-mig'-a-loon, the most influential man at Ku-wu'k, the same who 
headed the party against Commander Pullen at Point Berens, after 
informing us that a lad of eighteen had deceived us, and got food 
by telling a false tale of distress, would not for some time repeat 
his statement in the presence of the youth. 

Invisible spirits (^sing. turn'-gak ; plural, tum'-gain) people the 
eai-th, the air, and the sea ; and to them they apply similar notions 
of equality, attributing to none superior power, nor have they even 
a special name for any that we could learn. These turn'-gain are 
very numerous, some good, some bad ; they are sometimes seen, and 
then usually resemble the upper half of a man, but are likewise of 
every conceivable form. Their belief in ghosts seemed proved by the 
circumstance that two young girls who left the ship in the twilight of 
a short winter's day, turned back in breathless haste on seeing a 
sledge set up on end near the path to the village. They told the 
story of themselves next day, saying they were fi-ightened, having 
mistaken the sledge, which was not there in tlie daytime when they 
had passed, for a turn'-gak. They are concerned in the production 
of all the evils of life, and whatever seems inexplicable is said to be 
caused by one of them. One causes a bad wind to blow, so that the 
ice becomes unsafe ; another packs the ico so close on the surface of 
the sea, that tliu whales are smothered ; and a third strikes a man 
dead in the open air, without leaving any mark on his body ; or a 
fourth draws him by the feet into the bowels of the earth. These 
are evil genii ; and the good ones are little better, as they are very 
liable to got offended and turn their backs on suflbriug humanity, 
leaving it at the mercy of the worse disposed. Their dances and 
ceremonies are all intended to please, to cajole, or to frighten these 


spirits. The most curious ceremony that came under ohservation 
was performed at the village in the course of the last winter, when 
food had become very scarce in consequence of the ice continuing 
very close from a long continuance of north-westerly winds. On 
the sea beach, close to one of the dance-houses, a small space was 
cleared, and a fire of wood made, round which the men formed a 
ring and chanted for some time, without dancing or the usual accom- 
paniment of the tambourine. One of the old men then stepped 
towards the fire, and in a coaxing voice tried to persuade the evil 
genius, from whose baleful influence the people were suffering, to 
come under the fire to warm himself. When he was supposed to 
have arrived, a vessel of water, to which each man present had 
contributed, was thrown upon the fire by the old man, and im- 
mediately a number of arrows sped from the bows of the others into 
the earth where the fire had been, in the full belief that no turn'- 
gak would stop at a place where he received such bad treatment, 
but would soon depart to some other region, from which, on being 
detected, he would be driven away in a similar manner. To render 
the effect still greater, three guns were fired in diflierent directions, 
to alarm the spirits of the air, and make them change the wind. 
For the same object they several times requested the ship's guns, 
eigh teen-pounders, to be fired against the wind. 

When our poor friend O-mis-yu-a'-a-run, commonly called the 
water-chief, fiom having accused us of stealing the water from the 
village, was carried away with two others on the ice to near Cape 
Lisburne, in the beginning of the winter, his wife had a thin thong 
of seal-skin stretched in four or five turns round the walls of the 
ig-lu, and anxiously watched it night and day until she heard of her 
husband's fate. They believe that so long as the person watched for 
is alive and moves about, his turn'-gak causes the cord to vibrate, 
and when at length it hangs slack and vibrates no longer, he 
is supposed to be dead. Having heard something of the hourly 
observations of the movements of a magnet suspended by a thread 
in the observatorj', the old dame sent Erk-sin'-ra to see if its move- 
ments had any connection with her husband's case. 

Thunder is a rare occurrence at Point Barrow, but not altogether 
unknown to its inhabitants, and they say the sound of it is caused by 
a man spirit, who dwells with his family in a tent far away to the 
north. This Eskimo representative of Jupiter Tonans is an ill- 
natured fellow who sleeps most of his time ; and when he wakes up 
he calls to his children to go out and make thunder and lightning 
by shaking inflated seal-skins and waving torches, which they do 
with great glee until he goes to sleep again. 


They do not entertain any clear idea of a future state of existence, 
nor can they apparently imagine that a person altogether dies. 
Although death is a subject they dislike to talk of, we have heard 
the sentiments of several upon this, and the nature of the soul. 
About the last they differ a good deal, but they all agree in looking 
upon death as the greatest of human evils, and would invariably 
" rather bear the ills they have, than fly to others that they know not 
of." The soul is a turn'-gak, they say, seated in the breast, or rather 
in the lungs, and seems closely allied to the breath ; from it 
emanate all thoughts, which as they rise the tongue gives utterance 
to. Even as to its unity they hold diiJerent notions, for one person 
told us a man had four turn' -gain in his breast; and another, that 
wherever a man went there was in the ground beneath him his 
'• familiar spirit," which moved as he moved, and was only severed 
from him in death. However this may be, in death the body sleeps 
and the spirit descends into the earth to associate with those which 
have gone before, and subsists on bad food, such as roots, stones, 
and mosquitoes. 

In order not to offend the spirits of the departed, their bodies are 
wrapped in skins and laid on the earth beside others already there, 
with the head to the east at Point Barrow ; but for this direction 
there is no general rule. As his clothes and other portions of 
property he habitually used, including the sledge on which he was 
carried, would bring ill-luck to any one else who took them, they 
are left with the body in a torn or broken state, and the family to 
which he belonged keep within the hut for five days, not daring to 
work lest the spirits should be offended; and instances can bo 
readily adduced where they believe death to have happened to 
persons who infringed the custom of mourning five days. Diseases 
are also considered to be turn'-gaks ; and so hurtful do they think 
the touch of a corpse, that it is unwholesome to smoke from the same 
pipe or drink out of the same cup with any one who was the wife, 
mother, or other near relative of a deceased person ; this, they say, 
is because these relatives from tending the sick person become 
tainted by his breath, and another by using the same pipe or cup 
might acquire the disease. 

Joiix SiMi'SON, Surgeon, R.N. 

( 276 ) 


To the Council of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain 
and Ireland. 

Your Committee, to wliom was referred the annexed letter from 

tlie Eoyal Geographical Society, have agreed to the following 

Report : — 

24th May, 1872. 

Sir, — The President and Council of the Eoyal Geographical 
Society, after a careful consideration of a Eeport drawn up by a 
Committee of Arctic Officers ^ belonging to their body, having 
come to the conclusion that the time has arrived for once more 
representing the important results to be derived from Arctic explo- 
ration to Her Majesty's Government ; 1 have been directed to request 
that the following remarks may be laid before the President and 
Council of the Anthropological Institute. 

In a letter to me signed by the late Mr. George E. Eoberts, and 
dated May 8th, 1865, he was instructed to say that the Council of 
the Anthropological Society viewed with the deepest interest the 
prospect of an Arctic exploring expedition ; believing that great 
advantage to their science would ensue from such an undertaking. 

Strengthened by the willingness expressed by the Council of the 
Anthropological Institute to co-operate with the Eoyal Geogi'aphical 
Society in adopting such measures as might be considered advisable 
to induce Her Majesty's Government to accede to the proposal of 
fitting out an Arctic expedition, and by other expressions of cordial 
approval received from kindred scientific Societies, Sir Eoderick 
Murchison brought the subject of North Polar exploration to the 
notice of the Duke of Somerset, then First Lord of the Admiralty, 
in a letter dated 19th of May, 1865 ; and the subject was discussed 
between his Grace and a deputation from the Council of the Eoyal 

1 Sir George Back, Admiral Collinsou, Admiral Ommanney, Admiral Sir 
L. McClintock, Admiral Richards, Captaiu Sherard OsborD, Mr. A. G. Findlay, 
Mr. Clements Mai kham (Sec). 


Geographical Society, in an inter\-iew which took place on the 20th 
of J line in the same year. 

But at that time there "was some dijBference of opinion among 
Arctic authorities on the subject of the best route to be adopted, 
and the Duke said that he would wish to be in possession of the 
results of the Swedish Expedition then engaged in exploring 
Spitzbergen, and of other information, before ho could recommend 
an Arctic exploring expedition to the consideration of the Govern- 

In consequence of the view taken by his Grace, the Council of 
the Eoj'al Geographical Society have carefully watched tho results 
of expeditions undertaken by foreign countries, in order to be in a 
positi(m to recommend one route as undoubtedly the best, before 
again pressing the subject upon the attention of the Government. 
Seven years have now passed, and during that time additional 
experience has been accvimulated by the Swedes and Germans, 
which has enabled the Council to form an opinion that justifies 
a renewal of their representation made in 1865. The distinguished 
Arctic officers who are Members of the Geographical Council, and 
who have carefulty considered the evidence accumulated since 1806 
in a special Committee, are now unanimously of opinion that the 
route by Smith Sound is the one which should bo adopted with a 
view to exploring the greatest extent of coast-line, and of securing 
the most valuable scientific results. The conclusion thus arrived at 
by authorities of such eminence has placed the Royal Geographical 
Society in a position which will enable its Council to represent to 
the Government that the conditions are now fulfilled which the First 
Lord of the Admiralty deemed essential in 1865, before he cuuld 
entertain the project of North Polar Exploration. 

I am, therefore, instructed to represent the very great importance 
of stating the scientific results to be derived from the exploration of 
the unknown Korth Polar Region in full detail, even in a first pre- 
liminary communication to the Government. It is believed that the 
success of any representation will depend to a considerable extent 
on the force and authority with which that portion of it is prepared, 
which enumerates tho scientific results to be derived from the pro- 
posed expedition. I am to request that you will submit these views 
to tho President and Council of the Anthropological Institute, and 
that they will be so good as to cause a statement to be diawn up 
and furnished to tho Council of the Roj'al Geograjihical Society, 
embodying their views, in detail, of the various ways in which the 
Science of Anthropology would be advanced by Arctic exploration. 

I enclose, for the information of the President and Council of the 

u 2 


Institute, copies of a Memorandum which has been prepared upon 
the subject, and of the i:)apers which were read by Captain Sherard 
Osborn in 1865 and 1872, advocating a renewal of Arctic explo- 

I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant, 

Clemknts E. Markham. 

To the Secretary of the Anthropological Institute. 

Eeport of the Arctic Committee ' of the Anthropological Institute. 

The knoMdedge already acquired of the Arctic Eegions, leads to the 
conclusion that the discovery of the unknown portion of the Green- 
land coasts will 3'^ield very important results in the science of 
Anthropology. Although barely one-half of the Arctic Eegions has 
been explored, yet abundant traces of former inhabitants are found 
throughout their most desert wastes, where now there is absolute 
solitude. These wilds have not been inhabited for centuries, yet 
they are covered with traces of wanderers or of sojourners of a by- 
gone age. Here and there, in Greenland, in Boothia, on the shores 
of America, where existence is possible, the^ descendants of former 
wanderers are still to be found. The migrations of these people, 
the scanty notices of their origin and movements that are scattered 
through history, and the requirements of their existence, are all so 
many clues which, when carefully gathered together, throw light 
upon a most interesting subject. The migrations of man within 
the Arctic zone give rise to questions which are closely connected 
with the geography of the undiscovered portions of the Arctic 

The extreme points which exploration has yet reached on the 
shore of Greenland, are in about SC on the west, and in 76° on 
the eastern side ; and these two points are about 600 miles apart. 
As there are inhabitants at both these points, and they are separated 
by an uninhabitable interval from the settlements further south, it 
may be inferied that the unknown interval further north is or has 
been inhabited. On the western side of Greenland it was dis- 
covered, in 1818, that a small tribe inhabited the rugged coast, 
between 76^ and 79" n. ; their range being bounded on the south 
by the glaciers of Melville Bay, which bar all progress in that 
direction ; and on the north by the Humboldt glacier ; while the 

1 This Committee consiste'l of Sir John Lubbock (President), Professor Busk, 
Captain Sherard Osborn, Captain Bedford Pirn, Col. Lane Fox, Mr. Clements 
Markham, Mr. Flower, and Mr. Brabrook. 


Sernik-soal; or great glacier of the interior, contines them to tlie 
sea-coast. These " Arctic Highlanders " number about 140 souls, 
and their existence depends on open pools ami lanes of water 
tiiroughont the Avinter, which attract animal life. Hence, it is 
certain that w'here such conditions exist man may bo found. The 
question wliether the unexplored coast of Greenland is inhabited, 
therefore, depends upon the existence of currents and other con- 
ditions such as prevail in the northern part of Baffin's Bay. But 
this question is not even now left entirely to conjecture. It is true 
that the " Arctic Highlanders." told Dr. Kane that they knew of no 
inhabitants beyond the Humboldt glacier, and this is the furthest 
point which was indicated by Kalli-hirua (the native lad who was 
on board the Assistance) on his wonderfully accurate chart. But 
neither did the Eskimo of Upernivik knoAV anything of natives 
north of Melville Bay until the first voyage of Sir John Boss. Yet 
now we know that there either are or have been inhabitants north 
of the Humboldt glacier, on the extreme verge of the unknown 
region ; for Morton (Dr. Kane's steward) found the runner of a 
sledge made of bone lying on the beach on the northern side of it. 
There is a tradition, too, among the " Arctic Highlanders," that 
there are herds of musk-oxen far to the north, on an island in an 
iceless sea. On the easteni side of Greenland there are similar in- 
dications. In 1823, Captain Clavering found twelve natives at Cape 
Borlase Warren in 76^ n. ; but when Captain Koldewey wintered in 
the same neighbourhood in 1869 none were to be found, though 
there were abundant traces of them and ample means of subsistence. 
As the Melville Bay glaciers form an impassable barrier, preventing 
the " Arctic Highlanders " from wandering southwards on the west 
side ; so the ice-bound coast on the east side, between Scoresby's 
discoveries and the Danebrog Isles, would prevent the people seen 
by Clavering from taking a southern coTirse. The alternative is 
that, as they were gone at the time of Koldewey's visit, they must 
have gone north. 

These considerations lead to the conclusion that there are or 
have been inhabitants in the unexplored region to the north of 
the known parts of Greenland. If this bo the case, the study of all 
the characteristics of a people who have lived for generations in a 
state of complete isolation, would be an investigation of the highest 
scientific interest. 

Light may not improbably be thrown upon the mysterious 
wanderings of these northern tribes, traces of which are found in 
every bay and on every cape in the cheerless Barry group ; and 
these wanderings may be found to bo the most distant waves of 


storms raised in far off centres, and among other races. Many 
circumstances connected with the still unknown northern tribes 
may tend to elucidate such inquiries. Thus, if they use the iglu 
they may be supposed to be kindred of the Greenlanders ; snow- 
huts will point to some devious wanderings from Boothian or 
American shores ; while stone yourts would iodicate a march from 
the coast of Siberia, across a wholly unknown region. The method 
of constructing sledges would be another indication of origin, as 
would also be the weapons, clothes, and utensils. The study of the 
language of a long isolated tribe will also tend to elucidate questions 
of considerable interest ; and its points of coincidence and diver- 
gence, when compared with Greenland, Labrador, Boothian, and 
Siberian dialects, will lead to discoveries which, probably, could not 
otherwise be made. Dr. Hooker has pointed out that the problem 
connected with the Arctic flora can probably be solved only by a 
study of the physical conditions of much higher latitudes than have 
hitherto been explored. In like manner, the unsolved puzzles con- 
nected with the wanderings of man within the Arctic zone may 
depend for their explanation upon the clues to be found in the 
conditions of a tribe or tribes in the far north. 

These are speculations which the results gained by Polar discovery 
would probably, but not certainly, show to be well founded. But 
there are other investigations which would undoubtedly yield valu- 
able materials for the student of man. Such wovild be carefully 
prepared notes on the skidls, the features, the stature, the dimen- 
sions of limbs, the intellectual and moral state of individuals 
belonging to a hitherto isolated and unknown tribe ; also on their 
religious ideas, on their superstitions, laws, language, songs, and 
traditions ; on their weapons and methods of hunting ; and on their 
skill in delineating the topography of the region within the range 
of their wanderings. There are also several questions which need 
investigation, having reference to marks and notches upon arrows 
and other weapons, and to their signification. A series of questions 
has been prepared by Dr. Barnard Davis, Mr. Tylor, Col. Lane Fox, 
and others, on these and other points,^ attention to which would 

• 1. Instructions of Dr. Barnard Davis. 

2. Enquiries as to Religion, Mythology, and Sociology of Eskimo Tribes, by 
E. B. Tylor, Esq., f.r.s. 

3. Enquiries relating to Mammalia, Vegetation, &c., by W. Boyd Dawkins, 
Esq., F.K.s. 

4. Enquiries into Customs relating to War, by Col. A. Lane Fox. 

4a. Enquiries relating to certain Arrow-marks and other Signs in use among 
tlie Eskimos. 

46. Enquii'ics relating to Drawing, Carving, &c., by Col. A. Lane Fox. 

5. Enquiries as to Ethnology, by A. W. Franks, Esq. 

6. Enquiries 


undoubtedly result in the collection of mucli exceedingly valuable 

The condition of an isolated tribe, deprived of the \ise of wood or 
metals, and dependent entirely upon bone and stone for the con- 
struction of all implements and utensils, is also a subject of study 
■with reference to the condition of mankind in the stone age of the 
world ; and a careful comparison of the former, as reported by 
explorers, with the latter, as deduced from the contents of tumuli 
and caves, will probably be of great importance in the advancement 
of the science of man. 

For the above reasons there cannot be a doubt that the despatch 
of an expedition to discover the northern shores of Greenland would 
lead to the collection of many important facts, and to the elucidation 
of deeply interesting questions connected with anthropology. 


(^With Special Reference to Arctic Exploration.) 

1. General. By J. Barnard Davis, m.d., f.r.s. 

1. Navies of Tribes, indicating their divisions, and at the same 
time marking any peculiarities of any kind which distinguish them. 
This will embrace Tribal marks. 

2. Stature of Men and Women. — For this purpose the traveller 
should be provided with a measuring-tape or other instrument. 
Measure twenty-five of each, if he can. 

3. Colours of Skin, Eyes, and Hair. — These are easily determined 
by Broca's Tables. 

4. Hair, Texture of and Mode of Wearing. — Specimen locks, tied 
up separately and accv;rately labelled, if possible. 

5. Deformations carefully observed and accurately described. 
Those of the heads of infants impressed in nursing, if any ; those 
of the teeth produced by chipping, filing, &c. ; those of the skin 
done by fcittooing, incisions, scars, wheals, &c., correctly described. 

G. Crania diligently collected. These should always be procured 
as perfect as possible, never leaving anything behind, particularly 

G. Enquiries relating to tlie Physical Characteristics of tlio Eskimo, by Dr. 
J. DciMoc. 

7. Further Ethiiolojjiciil Enfiuiri< h, hy Piofcssiir W. Turner. 

8. lutitructions suggested by Caiitaiii BetH'ord i'iiii, n.N. 


not lower jaws and teeth. On collection, they should be at once 
marked with tribal name, in ink if possible, to prevent confusion. 

7. Diseases. — Careful observations upon their names, natures, 
peculiarities, &c., and their modes of treatment, if they can be 

8. Careful Observations of the habits and modes of life of the 
people : their social, intellectual, and moral state. 

9. Portraits, by drawing or photography, should not on any 
account be omitted, if attainable. 

10. Articles of dress, implements, &c., should be collected. 

11. Systems of Belationship. — (See ' Journal of Anthropological 
Institute ' (vol. i. p. 1), paper by Sir J. Lubbock, President.) 

12. Language. — As complete a vocabulary as circumstances will 
allow should be recorded. 

2. — Enquiries as to Eeliqion, Mythology, and Sociology of 
Eskimo Tribes. By E. B. Tylor, Esq., f.r.s. 

1. What ideas have they as to souls and other spirits ? AVhat do 
they think of dreams and visions ? are they appearances of spirits ? 
Are trances, &c., set down to exit of soul? Are hysterics, convul- 
sions, &c., ascribed to demoniacal possession? 

2. Does the soul continue to exist after death ? is there any dif- 
ference made in the fate of souls ? and, if so, is the difference due 
to their conduct in life ? Is there any transmigration of souls ? 

3. Are there spirits in rocks, springs, mountains, &c. ? if so, what 
are their appearance, functions, and names ? 

4. Are there any great gods believed in {e.g., a sun god), &c. ? 
Especially is there one called Torngarsuk, or Great Spirit ? 

6. AYhat prayers, sacrifices, fasts, ceremonial dances, religious 
festivals, &c., have they ? 

6. What sorcerers or seers have they ? how brought up, and prac- 
tising what crafts ? What necromancy, divinations, and other magic 
arts have they ? 

7. What legends of gods and heroes have they ? What stories 
which seem to relate to personified natural phenomena, sun, 
moon, &c. ? 

8. What actions and dispositions are considered good and bad, 
virtuous and vicious ? Does public opinion make much difference in 
treatment of virtuous and vicious? Are there any set laws and 
penalties ? what restraint is there on theft, murder, adultery, &c. ? 
Do acts count as criminal differently when done on a member of 
the tribe or foreigners ? What is the native law or custom as to 


vengeance ? What are the laws or customs as to marriage, inherit- 
ance, and clanship? 

9. "WTiat recognition of chiefship and what form of civil govern- 
ment can be traced ? Are the old men rulers, and do the strong 
men displace them ? What is the treatment of women and children, 
and of the sick and ajred ? 

3. — QuKSTioxs relating to the Majimalia, the Vegetation, and the 
Eemaixs of AxciExr Eaces. By W. Boyd Dawkins, ji.a., f.r.s. 

Where do the Eskimos obtain the ivory which they use for handles 
to their scrapers and for other purposes? Besides the walrus ivory 
they use the tusks of the mammoth : how do they know wheie 
to seek for these, and have they any legends in connection with 
them ? The conditions under which these tusks occur in the regions 
bordering on the great Arctic Sea are of the highest importance as 
throwing light on similar remains in Northern and Central Europe. 
The bones and teeth of the smaller animals, which most probably 
occur in the same strata as the mammoth ivory, should be preserved, 
fur there is reason to believe that at a time comparatively recent, 
zoologically speaking, the climate of the extreme north was far less 
severe than now. 

The sources from which the Eskimos obtained their wooel should 
be carefully ascertained. Is it drift-wood brought down by great 
rivers, like the Obi or the Mackenzie, from more southern latitudes ? 
or is it derived from ancient foiests which once flourished where at 
the present time no trees will grow? 

Have the Eskimos any legends relating to other lands than 
those in which they now live ; in other words, what was their golden 
age ? 

Have the Eskimos any legends relating to the musk-sheep, 
Oclhos moschalus ? 

4. — Enquiries into Customs Eelating to War. By Col. Lane Fox. 

1. Tactics — Have thetiibesany disposition or order of battle? aie 
the young or the weak placed in front? are they courageous? have 
f hey any war cries, war songs, or war dances, and if so give a detailed 
account of them ? Do they employ noise as a means of encourage- 
ment, or do they preserve silence in conflict ? Do they stand and 
abuse each other before fighting, or boa^t of their warlike achieve- 
ments ? Do they rely on tlio use of missile-weapons or hand -weapons? 
have they any special disposition f(jr tlioe in battle ? have they any 
knowledge of the advantages of ground or position in battle, as sug- 


gested by Capt. Beechey ? have they any sham fights with blunt and 
pointless weapons, such as are described by Vancouver in Hawaii 
and amongst the Hottentots ? How is the march, of a party con- 
ducted ? do they move in a body with a broad front or in file, and 
do they send forward advanced parties ? do they make night attacks ? 
have they any stratagems for concealing their trail from the enemy ? 
Have they any superstitious customs or omens in connection with 
war, and if so give an account of them? What is the meaning of 
the custom of shooting an arrow with a tuft of feathers attached, 
mentioned by Capt. Beechey, and supposed to be a declaration of war? 
(the custom of shooting an arrow towards an enemy as a declaration 
of war formerly existed in Persia.) Do they employ treachery, 
concealment, or ambush, and if so, what is their usual mode of pro- 
ceeding? Are their dogs employed in war? Are their treaties 
with other tribes binding? Do they form alliances with other 
tribes, and if so, to what extent do they act in concert, and under 
what leadership ? Are personal conflicts common between men of 
the same tribe, and if so, what is their usual mode of proceeding ? 

2. Weapons. — What are their war weapons? are the same wea- 
pons used in war and the chase? What is the exact natiire of 
their defensive armour, especially that described as being made of 
pieces of wood fastened together ? Is the throwing-stick used in 
war ? what is the accuracy, range, and penetration of a lance pro- 
jected by this means ? is there any evidence of its being a more 
ancient weapon than the bow ? is it an indigenous weapon or derived 
from without ? What are the difficulties in the construction of the 
bow from the absence of suitable elastic wood ? is the practice of 
giving elasticity to the bow by means of sinews attached to it an 
independent invention or derived from the Asiatic Continent ? what 
is the accuracy, range, and penetration of the bow?^ In what 
manner are the performances of their weapons handed down from 
father to son, as is said to be the case ? What is the exact meaning 
of the marks scored on their arrows and their weapons (with draw- 
ings of them) ? Have they any means of giving a rotation to their 
arrows or other missile-weapons ? Have they any regular system 
of training to the use of the bow and other weapons ? At what age 
do the children commence the use of the bow ? Are the Eskimos 

* It appears desirable that some test of accuracy should be established. If the 
natives can be induced to shoot at a target, the distance of each shot from the 
point aimed at should bt; measuied, added, and divided by the number of shots. 
The figure of merit obtained by tins means would enable a comparison to be 
made witli the shooting of otlicr races. A target composed of grass bands, not 
less than six feet iu diameter, might be used. Misses should be scored with a 
deviation of four feet ; distances, fitty, one hundred, one hundred and fifty, and 
two hundred paces of thirty inches. 


expert in throwing stones with the hand : and if so, how far can they 
throw with accuracy and force, and for what purpose do they throw 
stones? Is the bow dra-wn to the shoulder or the chest? is it held 
horizontally or vertically ? Are the women trained to the use of 
weapons? What are the varieties of the weapons employed in 
different tribes and what is the cause of variation ? to what extent 
do the weapons vary in form in each tribe ? Have they anything 
resembling a standard, or state halbard, or fetish for war purposes, 
as suggested by Capt. Beechey ? (Careful drawings and collections 
of all the varieties of weapons are very necessary.) To what extent 
have the natives abandoned their ancient arms, and taken to those 
of civilised nations introduced among them ? Do they readily adopt 
European weapons? 

3. Leaders and Discqyline. — How are their leaders appointed ? are 
they identical with the chiefs and Angekos ? have they any marks 
or distinctions of dress (with drawings) ? are they the strongest and 
most courageous ? have they any rewards for warlike achievements ? 
have they any subordinate leaders, and how are they appointed ? 
have the chiefs any aids or runners to carry messages? What kind 
of discipline is pi'eserved ? Have they any punishments for offences 
in war? what is the function of the women in war? are any of the 
adult males reserved from war for employment in other duties that 
are necessary for the tribe, and if so, how is that arranged ? 

4. Fortifications and Outposts. — Have they any intrenchments, 
earth, or snow works or defensive pits, as described by Capt. Beechey, 
and if so, give plans and sections of them drawn to scale ? Do they 
employ pitfalls in war or the chase, and if so, give plans and sections ? 
Have they any knowledge of forming inundations for defensive pur- 
poses ? Have they any use of stakes for defence, or stockades, or 
abatis? Do they employ caltraps (small spikes of wood fixed into 
the ground to wound the feet) ? Do they ever build on raised piles 
for defence, as is practised in some parts of the N.W. Coast? Do 
they occupy isolated positions, or hills, or promontories for the 
defence of their villages ? Do they fortify their villages or have 
they other strong places to resort to in case of attack which are not 
usually^ inhabited? Have they scouts and outposts, and are they 
arranged on any kind of regular system ? Have they any special 
signals for war ? do they employ special men on these duties ? 

5. Supply. — How do they supply themselves during war? does 
each man provide for himself or is there any general arrangement, 
and under what management? Are their proceedings much ham- 
pered by the difficulty of supply? IIow do they carry their food, 
water, and baggage ? 

6. Causes and Effects of War. — What are the chief causes of war? 


Do feuds last long between tribes ? How do they treat their pri- 
soners? have they any special customs with regard to the first 
prisoner that falls into their hands ? Do conquered tribes amalga- 
mate? How are the women of the conquered tribes dealt with? 
How do they divide the spoil ? Are their attacks always succeeded 
by retreat or do they follow up a victory ? Is it likely that a know- 
ledge of the arts, culture, &c., of other tribes has been spread by 
means of war ? To what extent has the increase of the population 
been cheeked by wars? Has migration been promoted to any great 
extent by warlike expeditions? 

Enquiries Eelating to Certaiit Arrow-Marks and other Signs in 
USE AMONGST the EsKiMOS. By Col. A. Lane Fox. 

1. Capt. Hall speaks of mysterious signs consisting of *' parti- 
coloured patches sewn on to seal-skins, and hung up near the dwelling 
of the Angekok for the information of strange Innuit travellers, and 
to direct them what to do." Are these signs for strange Innuit 
travellers generally understood by the Eskimo race ? what is their 
object and s-ignificance ? are they generally understood by the people 
or only by the Angekos ? Drawings and explanations of these signs 
would be desirable. 

2. Sir Edward Belcher, in the ' Transactions of the Ethnological 
Society,' vol. i. p. 135, new series, gives his opinion that the Eski- 
mos " are not without the means of recording events," and that 
" the use of notched sticks and working of the fingers has a deeper 
signification than mere numerals." What is the exact meaning of 
these marks? are they confined to particular tribes or common to 
the whole race? Drawings and collections of these notches would 
be desirable. 

3. In our Ethnographical Museums identical marks upon horn- 
pointed arrows appear- to be derived fiom different localities and at 
different times, so as to preclude the possibility of their having 
belonged to the same owner. Some of these marks appear to be 
pictographic, although consisting of straight lines representing a 
man or an animal ; others are evidently not pictographic, and con- 
sist of a longitudinal line with other short lines branching from it, 
or an edge of the horn-point serves the purpose of the longitudinal 
lines, and the short lines are marked upon it. Their resemblance 
to Eunes has been noticed. What is the exact meaning of each of 
these marks ? are they the marks of the owner or do they record the 
performances of the weapon, or have they any other significance? 
are there similar marks upon other weapons and utensils or upon 
rocks ? are they understood beyond the tribe ? is there any proba- 
bility of their having been derived from the Scandinavian settlers 


in Greenland ? Drawings and collections of these, and any other 
similar marks, with the exact meaning of each mark, would be 

Enquiries E elating to Drawing, Carving, and Ornamentation. 
By Col. A. Lane Fox. 

Have the natives a natural aptitude for drawing? do they draw 
living animals in preference to other forms? are the heads of men 
and animals usually represented larger in proportion than the other 
parts of the body ? Have they the least knowledge of perspective ? 
Are the most distant objects drawn smaller than those nearer ? are 
the more important personages or objects dravvTi larger than the 
others ? Do their drawings represent imaginary animals or animals 
now extinct ? Do they show any tendency to represent irregular 
objects, such as branching trees sjTumetrically so as to produce a 
conventional pattern? Are the drawings generally historical, or 
merely drawn for amusement or for oiTiament ? Are events of dif- 
ferent periods depicted in the same drawing ? Have they any conven- 
tional modes of representing certain objects? Do they draw from 
nature or copy each other's drawings? Do they in copying from 
one another vaiy the forms through negligence, inability, or to save 
trouble, so as to lose sight of the original object and produce conven- 
tional forms, the nature of which is otherwise inexplicable ? if so, it 
would be of great interest to obtain several series of such drawings, 
showing the gradual departure from the originals. Do they readily 
understand and appreciate European drawings? do they show any 
aptitude in copying European drawings? Do they draw with 
coloured earths besides the drawings engi-aved on bone ? With what 
tools are these engravings made? Have they special artists who 
draw for the whole tribe or does each man ornament his own pro- 
perty? Do any of the natives show special talent for drawing, if 
so, in what direction does such talent show itself? Is drawing more 
practised in some tribes than others, and if so, does this arise from 
inclination or from traditional custom? Do they draw plans or 
maps ? Do they understand European maps ? At what age do the 
children commence drawing? are they encouraged to draw at an 
early age (a series of drawings of natives of different ages, from five 
or six upwards, would be interesting as a means of comparison with 
the development of artistic skill in Europeans)? Do they oraament 
with geometrical patterns, such as zigzags, concentric circles, con- 
tiguous circles, coils, spirals, punch-marks, lozenge patterns, herring- 
bone patterns, &c. ? Do they use the continuous looped-coil ])atteni 
in ornamentation ? Are such geometrical patterns in any case copies 
of mechanical conti ivances, such as the binding of an arrow head, 


the strings supporting a vessel, &c., represented by incised lines? 
Are there any ancient drawings upon rocks, &c. ? and, if so, in what 
respects do they differ from those of the existing natives ? Copies 
to scale of any drawings which cannot be brought away would be 
very desirable. 

5. — Further Exquiries and Observations on Ethnological Ques- 
tions connected witli Arctic Exploratjon. By A. W. Franks, f.s.a., 
Keeper of Ethnography, &c., British Museum. 

On reading over the enquiries suggested by the distinguished 
members of the Anthropological Institute, Dr. Barnard Davis, Mr. 
Tylor, Mr. Boyd Dawkins, and Col. Lane Fox, the following 
additional points of enquiry have suggested themselves : — 

Aniliroiwlogical Details. — Some uniform mode of measurement 
should be adopted, and careful instructions would no doubt be fur- 
nished by Dr. Barnard Davis. It would also be desirable to ascertain 
the strength of the natives in lifting and throwing weights, and 
pulling against weights, as compared with Europeans ; also their 
speed in running. 

Mental Qualities. — Evidences of quick understanding or the re- 
verse. Habits of providence or the reverse. Knowledge of numera- 
tion and weights. Capability of understanding European pictmes 
of animals, and especially of landscapes. Comprehension of the 
advantages of writing. Any knowledge of astionomy ? 

Marriage and Funeral Customs. — Is any ceremony observed with 
either sex on attaining puberty ? Are wives obtained by courtship, 
capture, or purchase? if by the former, are there any surviving 
symbols of either of the two latter modes, as in Eussia ? At what 
age are marriages usually entered into ? and are there any prohibited 
deo-rees of relationship ? Are there any ceremonies at marriage or 
on childbirth? Is the name of the child ancestral? has it any 
special meaning ? and is it changed at any time ? How are the dead 
buried ? are their weapons and food deposited with them ? and if so, 
are they broken or rendered useless before being deposited? Is 
there any ceremony on receiving friends or strangers ? 

Arts and Manufactures. — Any particulars on these points will be 
of special value, as possibly illustrating prehistoiic periods. How 
is the carving in ivory or bone executed ? Is any method employed 
to soften the material ? Have the ornamental designs on the im- 
plements any particular meaning ? How are the skins tanned ? are 
there any varieties in the fashions of dresses ? and are these tribal 
or dependent on individual fancy ? How is the sinew-thread made ? 
Are labrets in use? and is tatcoing employed by either sex? Is 


thero any native explanation of either custom? It wonld be 
desirable to obtain the native names of the various tools, and to bo 
especially attentive to the use of stone implements. Is meteoric 
iron employed for implements? and where is it obtained? The 
native names of metals employed ? Are there special persons who 
manufacture a distinct class of objects or does each family supply 
its own wants ? Is tobacco in use ? where is it obtained ? and is 
any other substance used with it or substituted for it ? How are 
the tobacco-pipes made ? and especially how are the bowls and 
stems bored ? 

Hunting and Fishing, dc. — The use of lures and stratagems. Are 
any Rallies employed to record the number of animals killed? Is 
there any distinction in the form of paddles used by different sexes ? 
do the rowers keep time ? 

Food. — Are any ceremonies used at their meals or feasts ? Is there 
any offering to the deceased or to spirits ? Is there any particular 
order in the succession of various kinds of food at such meals? 
iMode of feeding? especially as to the cutting off at the mouth the 
food. Do the teeth become much worn down by the nature of the 
food or the mode of eating ? 

Collections. — It is most desirable to make as complete a collection 
as possible of everything illustrating the Arctic tribes ; for the 
intercourse with Europeans must in time modify or extinguish 
many of their peculiar implements, weapons, or dress, and it is 
believed that the Arctic races would furnish valuable illustrations 
of the condition of the ancient inhabitants of the South of France, 
&c., during the cave period. It would be well also to search in 
the walls and floors of ruined houses for stone and bone implements 
left by the former inhabitants. The specimens should be, as soon 
as possible, carefully labelled and marked ; where marked by 
adhesive labels or by cards tied on, something should be written on 
the specimen itself, in ink or pencil, so that if the label should 
drop off or become detached there ma}'' be no doubt as to the speci- 
men to which it belonged. 

There is, however, a point of great imj^ortance which relates to 
the disposal of the collections when they are brought back. It has 
been too much the habit to consider such objects the property of 
the officers of the expedition, to be disposed of according to their 
wish. Should, however, such collections bo made by a scientific 
expedition, there should be clear directions that it should be jtlaced 
at the disposal of the Government to bo deposited in the national 
museum, and the commander of the expedition shmild see that the 
main collection contains the best illustrations of the subject. 

To show the evil effects of the contrary practice, it may be noticed 


that the greatest of English explorers, Captain Cook, must have 
made very large collections, as specimens obtained by him are to 
be found in many museums and private collections both in England 
and abroad. Unfoiiunately, the value of his specimens is much 
diminished by the absence of any proper account of the places from 
vphich they were derived ; and it is somewhat curious that although 
the British Museum is supposed to have the principal part of his 
collections, many of the finest specimens are not to be found there, 
but in other collections. 

An instance connected with Arctic exploration may be noticed. 
In the well-known expedition in the Blossom, under Capt. Beechey, 
1825-28, a number of specimens was obtained. Some of the speci- 
mens were given by Capt. Beechey to the Ashmolean Museum ; 
others were presented by the officers to Mr. BaiTow, and are now in 
the British Museum. Sir Edward Belcher gave some of his speci- 
mens to the United Service Institution, which on the sale of a part 
of that museiim were dispersed ; unfortunately they were not pro- 
perly labelled, and their value is much impaired. The bxilk of Sir 
Edward Belcher's collection has since been sold, and though by a 
fortunate accident some of the most interesting specimens have 
been secured for the Christy Collection, the value of the series as 
a whole is taken away. Others seem to have been given by Sur- 
geon Collie to the Haslar Hospital, and on the breaking up of a 
portion of that mtiseum were sent to the British Museum ; scarcely 
any of them were labelled, and it is only by accident that the pro- 
bable origin of them has been traced. If a careful selection had 
been made at the time for* the national collection, the manners, 
customs, and arts of the Western Eskimos would have received a 
full illustration. 

6, — Questions relating to the Physical Characteristics of the 
Eskimos, &c. By John Beddoe, m.d. 

A. The following measurements should be obtained from as many 
adults of the two sexes as possible. 

1. Stature: the best gotten by means of a graduated rod, in 
erect posture. Mention whether shoes are worn, and of what 

2. Greatest length of head, from the eminence between the 
eye-brows ; with index or other callipers. 

3. Greatest breadth of head, wherever found, with callipers. 

4. Greatest breadth of zygomata, also with callipers. 

6. Span — i. e., distance between tips of middle fingers, arms 
being exjmnded. 


6. Circumference of chest at nipple (in men). 

7. Ditto after full expansion by forced inspiration (in men). 

8. Circumference of thigh at fork. 

9. Distance from fork to ground. 

1, 6, and 9, are most important. 

B. The colours of hair, eyes, and skin, may bo best expressed by 
means of Broca's scale ; but in its absence the 

1. Eyes may be desig-nated as light (blue, light grey, light 
green), neutral (dark grej", dark green, ycl1o^\nsh grey), or dark 
hazel, bro^\^l). 

2. Hair as red, fair, brown, dark brown, rusty black, or coal- 

3. It should be noted whether there is any beard, and, if so, of 
what colour, or whether it is extirpated. 

4. Is gi'ey hair observed ? 

5. Or baldness ? 

6. or the arcus senilis ? 

7. Is the hair lighter in children than in adxilts ? 

8. Is the body less hairy than in Europeans? 

C. 1. What is the temperature of the body, taken wdth a " clinical 
thermometer" kept in the axilla fully five minutes? This 
should be observed in four or five persons. 

2. Does the hand appear to be notably smaller than in Euro- 
peans ? 

For use in the observations above, a gTaduated rod, six feet long, 
with a sliding cross-piece, index callipers, graduated tapes, and a 
clinical thermometer will be desirable. 

7. — FuRTHKR EnixoLOGiCAL Enquikies, more especially connected 
with the Western Eskimos. By William Turner, Professor of 
Anatomy, University of Edinburgh. 

1. Should the expedition visit the western part of the north coast 
of America, it would be very desirable to ascertain if any traditions 
linger. amongst the Eskimo tribes of a migration of their ancestors 
across Behring Straits. 

2. It would also be desirable to ascertain if any communication 
takes place between the Eskimos and the most northerly tribes of 
North American Indians, either for purposes of trade or war ; or if 
the Eskimos or Indian tribes intermarry. 

15. Collections of crania of the tribes occupying the laud on the 



eastern and western sides of Beliring's Straits would be of great 
value. Careful notes should also be taken of the physical charac- 
teristics of the people, of their habits and modes of life, their tools, 
weapons, &c. 

4. A collection of crania from the district around Kotzebue Sound 
would be also prized, as there is reason to think, from a few speci- 
mens already in this country, that the cranial configuration of the 
people of this region differs from that of the tribes on the eastern 
side of the American continent. 

8. — Instructions suggested by Capt. Bedford Pim, r.n. 

1. Make full inquiries as to the shape, length, breadth, depth, 
and capacity of the baidars ; the covering, the lashing, size of the 
ribs and timbers, and the dimensions of the paddles. 

2. How many persons can the baidar carry? with how much 
weight inside will they float when swamped ? 

3. What amount of provisions for its occupants can the baidar 
carry ? what is the nature of those provisions, and how many days 
will they last ? 

4. What is the utmost speed of a baidar xmder paddles, paddles 
and sail (if any), or sail (if any) alone ? 

5. How many miles can be paddled in four hours ? ditto eight 
hours ? ditto twelve hours, with the view to arrive at the length of 
a da)''s journey ? 

6. These questions to apply equally to the kayak. 

7. Especially make inquiries with reference to the capability of 
the baidar, or of two kayaks laished together, to cross from Labrador 
to Greenland ; and their ability to encounter heavy weather, 

8. Also if women can paddle the kayak as well as the men. 

9. Make particular inquiries about the weapons of the chase used 
both on land and water. 

41 8 

London: prlnted bt william clowes and sons, stamfobd stkelt, 
and charing cross. 


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